When U.S. soldiers are deployed overseas, they look to mail call for letters from home. Although there are many forms of electronic communication that have reduced the flow of letters through the postal service, letters from home offer special rewards for soldiers. The soldier can carry the letters with him, folded into a pocket, which is something an email can't offer. Also, letters can have a personal touch with signatures and drawings in the margins. An initial letter can be a great introduction to a soldier, and then further correspondence can be written as the friendship between pen pals grows.
Find an organization that facilitates letters to soldiers by providing addresses for where to send your initial letter. These organizations include Tell Them Thanks, Adopt A Soldier and Any Soldier. These organizations are typically found online.
Read through the instructions for how to send your letter. Some organizations require you to sign up with them before proceeding with your initial letter to a soldier.
Write your letter to the solider. Remember that you're hoping to establish a relationship and that your letter will result in having a pen pal in the armed services. In order to have a good pen pal relationship, tell the soldier about yourself and your life. For example, what are your goals and aspirations? Be sure to ask in a friendly way about the soldier's life and what the solder's aspirations are.
Send your letter according to the instructions of the organization you selected. Have patience. Overseas delivery takes more time than domestic delivery.
Respond to your solder's response letter with a second letter to the soldier, building on the information you provided in your initial letter and telling the solider additional details about your life. Express interest in the details that the soldier provided and ask more questions.
Continue regular correspondence with your new pen pal.
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- Tell the soldier about a movie you saw or a book that you have read. This helps the soldier to visualize your life and to learn more about you.
- Remember that many soldiers overseas are in harm's way, and that your pen pal may become a casualty of war. Be prepared for that possibility.
Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."