One Hanover woman ends all of her letters to her 21-year-old son, who is serving in Afghanistan, with the words “Be strong” and “Be courageous.” Several other residents are joining her this Christmas season.
Karen Caskey’s 21-year-old son Nathan is one of those who won’t be able to participate in his family’s annual celebration, including a gingerbread house competition with all of his cousins. But some residents are making life overseas for Nathan, a Patrick Henry High School graduate, and his fellow Marines better this holiday season by sending them letters and care packages.
“The letters are what mean most to them, because it shows them that people at home care,” Caskey said.
“Anyone can write a letter or say ‘thank you,’” she added.
The soldiers should get all of the packages and letters of support either right after Christmas or the following week.
Caskey said some of her Bible Study attendees at Winn’s Baptist Church in South Anna asked about sending letters to members of her son’s platoon and the entire congregation got involved along with other members of the community.
Among the group was Lisa Blake, who was inspired to put together a number of care packages for the 13 Marines that include socks, Bibles and snacks.
Caskey said the socks are important because at times her son will have to go on missions for several months and won’t be able to do laundry.
She added that those mean much more to the men serving their country than the apple cider and snacks.
Caskey’s son has been over in Afghanistan since September and will be there for a total of seven months. Caskey said she sends him letters and packages all the time, but her son told her it’s not the same for his men.
“There are a lot of young men over there that don’t get the support of their families like my son does,” Caskey said.
She said her family is thankful to have the ability to call or email her son while he is away, because during the Vietnam War, it was hard for families to get in touch with their loved ones.
She also feels there’s a lack of media coverage of those who are still serving overseas. Caskey added that her son told her recently about a soldier in
his platoon who was killed by a suicide bomber.
That is why she said it is even more important for people to show those soldiers that they are not forgotten, adding that it is easy for them to think people don’t care.
Her son is incredibly grateful for all the letters he has received since his deployment. She said that her letters have really helped him get through his time there.
Her son told her that the biggest hit in his platoon were the letters from children. Caskey said a fourth grade class from John. M. Gandy Elementary School sent a number of letters and added a few drawings. Her personal favorite was a drawing of a tank shooting ornaments onto a Christmas tree.
“Just something to make them smile,” Caskey said.