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Our nephew Matthew Wilson was tragically killed in Afghanistan by a
roadside IED June 1, 2009.  While I was at the bx shopping for sympathy
cards to send to his wife, my niece Ashlynn, and his platoon still
deployed in Afghanistan, I found a teddy bear about six inches tall
wearing cami’s that allows a person to record a message which can be
played back as many times as the receiver wishes to hear it.  I bought it
to send to his fellow soldiers  with a message from his family.  When I
told my sister about it she wanted one to record Matt’s voice from the
phone for his son Gunnar.  That got me to thinking and wondering about how
many soldiers children’s will grow up not remembering what their parent’s
voice sounded like.  These bears record a twenty second message.  That’s
not enough for a family that may want to hear more or who may wear out the
recording playing it over and over.

My suggestion is that one of the major stores, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Staples,
Office Depot, etc. set up a DVD camera in a room where a deploying soldier
who doesn’t have a DVD camera can have some privacy to record a message to
his family.  Let him read bedtime stories to be played for his kids at
night.  Give him a chance to tell his family how much he loves them and
will miss them.  To talk about the fun things they did that summer, what
they will do when he gets home.  This will keep him with his family in a
way a monthly phone call or intermittent internet conversation can’t.  It
should be a fun thing, not a sad recording.  But if, as in Matt’s case,
the soldier doesn’t make it back to his or her family, they will have
recorded memories of him or her to watch over and over.  What better gift
can you give your family besides the gift of you?


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