NEW YORK -- Service members need hope, love and support, the wife of America's top military officer said here today.
Mary Jo Myers, wife of the former Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, was the featured speaker at a ceremony officially opening the History Channel Mail Call exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum here.
The exhibit, a partnership among the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program, the History Channel and the Intrepid, includes four stations from which messages of support can be sent to the troops via the America Supports You Web site. America Supports You provided the software to make the kiosk possible, noted Judy Klein Frimer, director of brand enhancement for the History Channel.
Mrs. Myers joined sixth-graders from Devon Preparatory School in Devon, Pa., in sending the first messages of support from the new exhibit.
The students already are old pros at sending messages of support, though. They have been involved in a letter-writing campaign for more than a year, and won praise for their efforts from Mrs. Myers, who has seen firsthand the effect those letters can have on a deployed service member.
"Your letter-writing campaign shows them that you appreciate the sacrifices they make for their commitment and their fighting to preserve the way of life we all so enjoy -- your ability to keep on going to school, to continue with your sports and to grow up in this country which is so full of opportunity, more opportunities than, I think, any other place on this Earth," she said.
She went on to tell them that with opportunity and privilege comes a responsibility to give back.
"By giving back," she said, "you help keep this country strong. More importantly, you make it a force for good in this world."
The students got to hear exactly what their letters and the messages of support received via the America Supports You Web site mean to the service members who receive them.
"This is a great day for every service member who will be a recipient of these e-mails," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Butler, 1st Marine Corps District in Garden City, N.J. "I can tell you, as a deployed service member, that it's a very critical part of the day to get something from home. This is truly inspiring. I admire you for reaching out to service members all over the world."
Another Marine said it was also a great day for Americans and America Supports You. "(AmericaSupportsYou.mil) is a fantastic resource for America in general," said Capt. John Caldwell, 1st Marine Corps Recruiting District, Long Island, N.Y. "Over the last few years, as we've been engaged in conflicts ... people have called or e-mailed me wishing to reach out. Now, ... I've been able to funnel them right to that Web site, and it's just fantastic."
Frimer said the kiosk came about because the History Channel was looking for a way to expand its relationship with the Intrepid. The History Channel had already worked with the Intrepid to create the "Atlantic Crossings" exhibit. The two entities thought the e-mail kiosk was a really good way to expand that relationship, she said.
"The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is dedicated to honoring our troops, educating the public and inspiring our youth about the price of freedom," said retired Col. Tom Tyrrell, executive director and chief executive officer of the Intrepid museum. "It is our hope that our new Mail Call exhibit will fulfill every aspect of that mission, first by expressing to our heroes abroad how much they are appreciated and second by inspiring our visitors to take just a moment and reflect upon the daily sacrifices of our servicemen and women."
In keeping with the History Channel's mission of making the past come alive, the Mail Call kiosk is a "3-D extension" of its hit show of the same name, hosted by retired Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey.
"This partnership is truly an example of how we can make history relevant to our lives," Frimer said. "This exhibit brings home the Marine Corps motto, 'Semper Fidelis,' or always faithful."