Writing Your First Letter
Address Your Soldier
You can refer to your soldier by his or her given name or by his or her rank and last name. For example, Sgt. Brian Dohenny could be addressed "Dear Sgt. Dohenny" or "Dear Brian." I prefer to use a soldier's first name.
Introduce Soldiers' Angels
Your soldier may have submitted himself, or someone else may have submitted him or her. Tell your soldier how you got his or her name.
My name is Lauren, and I got your address through Soldiers' Angels. Soldiers' Angels supports our men and women overseas by allowing people like me to write to people like you. I am grateful to be free and I consider it a privilege to support the people who help keep me free.
Start out simply. Introduce yourself and your family. Talk about your home and your job.
If you had houseguests, you'd walk them through your house, pointing out the bathroom, the kitchen, where the light switches are. You'd tell them to help themselves to a soda or a glass of milk, point out the fresh hand towels in the linen cupboard, and show them the spare key. Do the same thing with your life.
I am 41 years old, single, and live in Southern California, in a small city called Montclair. It's about halfway between Los Angeles and San Bernardino. There's not much famous about my city, but it's near Claremont, which is home to the Claremont Colleges, and near Rancho Cucamonga, which is a joke is a lot of old Bugs Bunny cartoons.
I live with my sister and my niece and nephew. Thomas is a student and works at a game store. Priscilla works as a warehouse picker and wants to get her degree in criminal psychology. We have six cats between us, or all over us, really. My sister's are Mama Cat and Callista. Thomas's is Tiger Paws. Priscilla's is Bandit. Mine is Smaug (after the dragon in The Hobbit, not the local air pollution). And we have a new kitten named Odin who is community property. We also have opossums in the garage.
Don't write too much, a page or two at most. If you have a lot to say, write a second letter.
You are not sending mail to Iraq or Afghanistan. You are sending mail to a shipping center in New York (AE) or San Francisco (AP), or more rarely Mississippi (AA). Use regular postage. A letter is 41¢ for the first ounce (usually about ten sheets of paper). A post card is 26¢.