"Mess Night" with the First Regiment, First Marine Division brought 250 members of the division to the Newport Beach, Calif., Balboa Bay Club for a fundraising dinner with Southern California supporters on Oct. 26.
The "1/1" returned from a tour in Iraq in August, and an appreciative group of hundreds of citizens crowded the sold-out dinner to applaud their efforts and toast their return.
They even joined the Marines in honoring their colleagues killed or wounded in the war.
Forty miles to the south, at the Wounded Warrior Center opposite the hospital at Camp Pendleton, Marines in long-term rehabilitation from wounds suffered in Afghanistan, Iraq or training worked overtime to get into the physical shape needed to get on with their lives — and for some, back to their units.
The cost of the center's construction was largely underwritten by the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund (http://www.semperfifund.org), which has assisted 6,000 USMC families as their Marines have recovered from their wounds in the war.
All of the money raised by the Semper Fi Fund is from private donations by grateful and supportive civilians.
SoldiersAngels (http://www.soldiersangels.com), begun by an Army mom three years ago, flourishes today and connects civilians with soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard in the war zone so that ordinary Americans can reach out to and support the military carrying the burden of the war.
Active-duty milbloggers like MudvilleGazette (http://www.mudvillegazette.com), and retired soldiers like Blackfive (http://www.blackfive.net), Austin Bay (http://www.austinbay.net/blog), and Bill Roggio (http://www.billroggio.com) almost daily bring news from the war that MSM, the mainstream media, simply don't find or refuse to carry.
These and scores of other new media sites attract traffic because old media are not trusted to report on the war.
Bloggers and their readership help power the Valour-IT project (http://www.soldiersangels.org/valour), getting voice-controlled laptop computers to wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at home or in military hospitals.
Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes can send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the Internet, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.
Since its beginning, the project has equipped such men and women with 650 laptops.
And there are 1,000 other such efforts and tributes under way around the country, because the country supports the military, and the country supports the war.
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