I'm honored to have had the chance to help our wounded troops at Landstuhl. Unfortunately, it looks like more such help will be required for years to come. As our military enters its 8th year in Afghanistan and 6th year in Iraq (US involvement in WW2 was only 4 years) I think it is past time for all of us to consider what we as individuals can do for the men and women serving in the military, as well as for their families. The bigger picture, of course, is to consider what we all can do to bring these soldiers home while maintaining our national security.
An easy and worthwhile thing to do is to financially support charities such as the Fisher House Foundation (www.fisherhouse.org) which provides housing and support for families of wounded soldiers near military hospitals around the world (there are 2 Fisher Houses at Landstuhl). Another worthy charity is the National Military Family Association (www.nmfa.org). Both put >85% of donations into their service programs rather than administration, advertising, etc.
An important, but somewhat indirect way to support our troops and country is to become better informed about foreign affairs by listening and reading about all sides of the issue - not just listening to those you already agree with. Not only will this broaden our view of these complex issues, but it just might help restore the "civil" in our civilization. Use this knowledge to vote for those who might also examine all sides of an issue before making a decision.
Lastly, we have to think of how we can best defeat those who would harm us. Both Al Qaeda and Iran are heavily dependent on money from oil revenues. Likewise, Russia can't be a threat without oil money. If the US dramatically and quickly decreased our use of petroleum, then the funding for nefarious activities carried out by these groups would be cut off. There are obvious environmental benefits for using less oil, and potential economic benefits for quickly developing alternative energy sources. I'll test the civility of our relationship by proposing a $1 per gallon tax on gasoline as a way to accomplish this. In past wars, the entire country sacrificed for the common good - we really haven't done this since the 1940s. However, I believe this is ultimately the best way to support our military, make us safer, and keep the rising seas from covering Scuttlebutt.
On a lighter note, I'll post Oktoberfest/Munich photos later today.