Some showed up willingly, some with a little coaxing, but regardless of their political agenda or personal beliefs, all were there to do one thing: support United States troops in Iraq.
At the Bell Tower last Tuesday, Temple College Republicans held a “Support Our Troops Letter Drive.”
Tuesday marked day two of the organization’s mission to encourage Temple students to stop and write a letter to U.S. Army troops deployed to Iraq. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., representatives from the organization handed out notepads and pens for students to express their appreciation for the soldiers.
“We wanted to do this event now because of an e-mail I got from a soldier I know in Iraq, and he said that he’s in his fourth month out of a 15-month deployment and his troops needed a morale boost,” said Ryan McCool, a junior political science major and president of the Temple College Republicans.
McCool said more than 100 letters have been collected during the organization’s stint at the Bell Tower. The group advocated for support despite of personal political feelings about the Iraq war.
“We see so much negativity toward the war on campus and we think a much better thing to do is provide a positive message,” McCool said. “Support our Troops is sometimes tied with Republican warmongers, but we let them know that even if you don’t support the war, you can support those kids who are putting their lives on the line everyday.”
Many students who wrote letters agreed with the sentiment that troops should be supported regardless of opinions on war.
“I wrote one because I wanted to thank the soldiers for what they are doing. I personally don’t agree with the Iraq war, but I feel like it wasn’t even their choice,” said Jeff McDevitt, a freshman broadcasting, telecommunications and mass media major.
Other students had more personal reasons for taking time out of their day to write.
David Barton, a third-year graduate student studying physics, served two years in the army and knows the struggle of being away from home all too well.
While deployed to Korea, he received letters from family but also said there was a United Services Organization center where troops could read letters from the public.
“A letter can help them have a better day and just feel a little better about what they are doing,” Barton said.
McCool said the letters will be sent to Texas first and then to the 109th Transportation Company in Iraq.
He also said the Temple College Republicans are planning a goods drive later in the year, where people can give items such as Band-Aids, foot powder, bug spray, socks and sheets.
Ashley Truxon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org