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December 24, 2003

Iraqi Children And A Lasting Peace
While reading Sergeant Jason's latest tales of deployment at Just Another Soldier, I noticed he listed a link to And I'm glad he did.

IraqiSchools is a volunteer effort founded by American soliders in Iraq -- and you'll never read about it the news.

Led by Major Gregg Softy and his soliders of Armor Squadron S-3, 1-1 Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, IraqiSchools collects and distributes basic classroom supplies to Iraqi children and teachers. Saddam's evil regime decimated the Iraqi educational system leaving most schools without necessities such as chalk, blackboards, erasers, rulers, markers, glue and even pencils and paper. Major Softy and his soldiers are committed to changing all that. As the major explains on the IraqiSchools website:

Among the many tasks associated with this mission is interaction with the local schools (grades K - 8 equivalent). Simply put, the conditions are deplorable. The conditions include raw sewage on the ground and in the classrooms, no electricity or water, bullet holes in the walls and on the roofs, broken windows and doors, no desks or chalkboards, and obviously little or no supplies with which to hold classes ...

For what I provide my two boys in one year for school, I could outfit an entire classroom of Iraqi children for the year. My soldiers and I quickly realized the need to reach out directly to you all for help ...

... we are attempting to start a grass roots movement to provide school supplies directly from the States to the children and schools here in Baghdad. In doing so, I am asking from each of you a few moments of your time and few simple tasks. My soldiers and I will see to the rest.

If you want to help, just box up some basic school supplies -- paper, pencils, pens, rulers, glue, markers, chalk, crayons, scissors, paint, erasers, etc. -- and mail them to Major Softy in Baghdad. His address:

MAJ Gregg Softy
HHT, 1st Squadron 1st Cavalry Regiment
Unit 92841
APO AE 09324-2841

What difference will a box of pencils and paper make? Major Softy has the answer: "If [we] are going to achieve an enduring, secure environment for the Iraqis, the keys to the kingdom lie with the next generation. We have to win the lasting peace through the children. "

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