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Our Views: Give an online salute
Blog helps folks at home, soldiers stay in touch
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As Veterans Day nears, our thoughts of course turn to those who have served our country in past conflicts.

There are events this week and next to honor people like Pfc. Channing Moss, a West Hall High graduate who was honored Friday both by his alma mater and the city of Oakwood. Moss has returned home to Hall County for good after spending months in recovery in Washington, D.C., after he was severely injured by a rocket-propelled grenade on routine patrol in Afghanistan.

And veterans like Jack Blackwell, an 84-year-old Homer resident who shared his experiences during World War II with hundreds of Johnson High School students Thursday.

The Northeast Georgia History Center honored World War II veterans Saturday, the latest in a series of events they've held in recent months to honor soldiers. Several other groups have held dances, picnics and banquets in honor of those who have served their country.

Next weekend, the History Center will hold an event to honor all veterans. Other events are scheduled throughout the region for Veterans Day. The Times will honor veterans in our coverage next weekend, too.

While The Times wholeheartedly joins those saluting veterans, let's also remember those who are actively serving today. They are spending months away from their homes and families which, as Moss said when his young daughter approached him during his speech Friday, is one of the reasons many of them serve.

That's why The Times has launched an online blog "Hello from Home" on the community page at gainesvilletimes.com. It lets service members and their families share the tidbits of life which make home seem closer to those called to be so far away.

When Blackwell served during World War II aboard the destroyer USS Taylor in the South Pacific, communication from home came mostly in the form of letters, which in wartime could take weeks if not months to catch up with each serviceman or servicewoman. The occasional call to loved ones back home was infrequent and short in duration.

"Hello from Home" can give families and soldiers more immediate contact with home. We'd like military members or their families to go to the "Hello from Home" blog and tell us about how they are doing and what their lives are like. Please include an e-mail address for the soldier so that our readers can offer words of support and encouragement. If the soldier is allowed to receive care packages from home, please include information on how to mail those.

We'd also like input from soldiers, too, so we need family members to tell them about the blog, so that they can post to the site and tell our readers what's happening in their lives. But we want "Hello from Home" to be much more than just a message board for families and soldiers serving overseas. We want the community to get involved, too.

We hope readers will join the blog and send e-mails of support to the troops who have signed up for "Hello from Home." Or send a care package so the troops know the folks back home support them. And don't forget to share your thoughts in our blog.

Sign up and share your thoughts and ideas, plus information on the military heroes in your family and neighborhoods. Our military heroes have given us so much; it's only fitting that we find a way to show our appreciation in every way possible.

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