During the first half of the 20th century after two world-wide struggles for power that vividly showed the horrifying and devastating effects of war, America has cemented itself as a global force and international power. As Americans, we often forget that our position or role as a superpower is chained to the tremendous responsibility of safeguarding democracy and protecting the liberty of many people around the world. This duty has required huge sacrifices of time, money and American lives. Often criticized and sometimes ridiculed, America and Americans have sought to lift the torch of freedom and democracy for 240 years. Our troops, along with U.N. forces and officers of various nations, have served as the world’s true peacekeepers—working, fighting and sometimes dying for the liberty of others. The United States has military personnel deployed in about 150 countries. This roughly translates to having troops, soldiers or military personnel in 75% of the world’s nations. No military in the history of the world has been more widely deployed. The United States has created the most extensive network of military bases ever. Our Air and Naval forces may be deployed anywhere on the globe in a matter of moments. This military might and power is an awesome accomplishment, yet it is managed and realized through the hard work and sacrifices of countless men, women and their families. Serving in our military is an unquestionable honor but this service also requires an untold measure of commitment to one’s duty-- to go where others refuse to go and do the things that many would not dare to do. In 2013, over 150,000 active-duty military personnel served outside the United States. While doing their duty to protect us and others around the world, our military men and women must forgo the most basic of hometown comforts such as family, cookouts and malls- the daily elements of life that provide comfort and familiarity.
“Operation Deployed: Only The Best for our Best” was born in an effort to recognize and honor the efforts of American soldiers everywhere. Led by Robert Barr, the group strives to send care packages to America’s hometown heroes whether they are stationed in the Arabian Gulf or South West Asia. In 2015 alone, Operation Deployed sent care packages containing over 5,000 World’s finest Chocolate bars, 5,000 Blistex products; 3,000 cigars, 2,000 brats and other items like X boxes, volley balls, baseballs, and footballs to soldiers deployed overseas. “The Cigars are extremely popular”, says Barr. Carrot-Top Customer Care Professional Carol McAdoo, an Army veteran herself, recently assisted Mr. Barr in obtaining patriotic decorations to give our troops a real red, white and blue 4th of July celebration this year. Operation Deployed sets a goal for the number of care packages it will send and works to achieve that goal through contributions and support from volunteers, students and other members of the community. When they reach this goal, a greater mission begins to reveal itself. Serving those who serve us is not only about the items in the packages but it is also the opportunity for the heart of America (and Americans) to reach out and give back to our sons, daughters, husbands and wives stationed in foreign lands. It’s the patriotic pulse that beats in each of us and makes our nation great.
The efforts of Operation Deployed clearly illustrate what is best about America and Americans. Men and women like Robert Barr are possibly our greatest heroes as their actions allow each of us to become heroes in hearts of soldiers-- brothers, sisters, friends and family or people we may never met. Though the items included in the care packages will never replace what home feels like, they are tangible tokens that clearly demonstrate how those of us from across the water care, love and honor the sacrifice members of our military make on a daily basis. A quick glance at a soldier’s smile when he or she receives an Operation Deployed care package reflects the priceless benefits of showing our soldiers just how much we care.
This year, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, honor those who fight for our freedom by sending a soldier a care package of love or by supporting the organizations that honor our troops. Let the beat of patriotism and love for our country fill the heart of every American- both at home and abroad. Celebrate, give and get involved by supporting military the heroes from your neighborhood, city or state. We must support those who sacrifice for us each day. Operation Deployed is guided by the motto “Only The Best for our Best”. This 4th of July and always, let’s give our best to those who give their best for our nation and help protect our world. To make a donation or for more information feel free to contact Carrot Top at (800) 628-3524 or visit Operation Deployed on Facebook.
Photos via the Operation Deployed: Only the Best; For our Best Facebook Page