Books for Troops
Director and Founder: Ellen R. Keegan (since 2010)
Office (Open Monday 1pm-4pm; other days by appointment only): 688 New Loudon Road Latham, NY 12110 (no mail can be received here - see below for mailing address)
Mailing Address: 152 Oak Brook Commons Clifton Park, NY 12065
Email: [email protected]
**For the Troops: Book requests can be emailed to [email protected] Please include your complete mailing address along with your request. This helps to expedite the process of you receiving your boxes.
I just wanted to share this poem that I found in a book that was donated. It shows how important your support and care for the troops is to them. - Ellen
A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS SEASON
BY LCDR, Jeff Giles, USN
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light.
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angels in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by the love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know.
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow,
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear.
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night.
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight,
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear.
“Come in this moment. It’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right.
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Grandpa died at Pearl on a day in December,
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam”,
And now it is my turn, and so here I am.
I’ve not seen my son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures; he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white and blue…an American flag.
“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I will be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?”
It seems all too little for all what you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eyes welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.”
To fight for our rights back at home while we are gone,
To stand your watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we all trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us!”
BOOKS FOR TROOPS, INC, (BFT) was started in southern Saratoga County, New York, in April 2010 by retired school teacher, Ellen Keegan who wanted to gather books to send to our troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her idea was to give them a source of escape from the horrors they were seeing each day; to offer them a release from loneliness, boredom, stress, homesickness, and fear; and to show them that they were not forgotten by those at home whom they were sacrificing so much to keep free.
Books For Troops, Inc. also wanted the books to remind the troops of home and to give them the message of how grateful and proud we are of them. Our mission has expanded over the years since BFT has been in existence to include 31 VA hospitals across the US, the American Red Cross Wounded Warriors Program, the families of the troops, in particular the children, and most importantly the troops deployed all over the world.
Books are now being sent to Japan,Landstahl Hospital in Germany, South Africa, South Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan or anywhere troops are deployed. They are also sent to troops on US bases. They are also being sent to 31 VA Hospitals across the nation. Books for Troops is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is registered with the NYS Charities Bureau.
Books for Troops' hours are Monday from 1pm - 4pm. There are collection boxes in front of 688 New Loudon Road when the office is not open. If you have a large number of books, please contact [email protected] to arrange to drop off books at a day other than Monday. We do NOT take HARD COVERED books. Donation for postage to send your donated books is also appreciated. Do NOT leave the donation with the books. It can be mailed to Books for Troops, 152 Oak Brook Commons, Clifton Park, NY 12065. The check can be made out to Books for Troops. Thank you for your support. For further information, use our e-mail: [email protected]
Books For Troops' goal is to make sure that books are not one of the sacrifices that the troops have to endure. BFT believes that books help:
1) alleviate boredom that the troops often mention as the biggest enemy of their off-duty time;
2) offer a means of escape from the horrors of the troop’s daily experiences;
3) bring a sense of home to our troops;
4) make available a quiet time alone away from the stress of living so closely with each other;
5) create a time to forget;
6) provide a distraction with something less stressful to think about;
7) remind both our deployed and injured troops that “you are not forgotten” by the people they are protecting;
8) connect the the deployed and injured with their children through the sharing of children's books;
9) offer "Medicine for the Mind" (inscription on the library in Thebes, Greece).
10) "a book builds bridges between people" -Unknown
At this time Books for Troops is in need of ONLY: history, military history, biography, non-fiction, fantasy, horror, true crime, mysteries and fiction in paperback only (the troops have requested no hard-covers).
We will still accept puzzle books, both regular and large print (for hospitals), DVDs, books on tape and comics. The only drop place will be our office at 668 New Loudon Road (about 200 ft. north of Bella Napoli Bakery in a mini-mall 2 doors down from Vintage Pizza). The office hours are 1pm-4pm on Monday (or by appointment only).
Donations for postage is always needed. Checks can be made out to Books For Troops, Inc., and sent to: Books For Troops 152 Oak Brook Commons, Clifton Park, NY 12065. A tax receipt will be sent.
Books for Troops wants to send you books, DVDs, puzzle books, books on Ttape and comics. Hours of entertainment and escape are an e-mail away. Just send your request, what you would like: puzzle books, books, comics, DVDs, Books on Tape or all 5. If you have a favorite kind of book or author, ( e.g. sci/fi, crime/ thriller, Tom Clancy, Piers Anthony) send your preference with your request. If you prefer Sudoku, crosswords, find a word or variety of puzzles, mention which or all. Include your complete mailing address including APO, AE or FPO, AE. Please mention the date your deployment will end so that the items reach you in time. Let us say thank you for all you are sacrificing to protect us by sending you these "reminders that home is not so far away". We do not want books to be one of your sacrifices and we want you to know that we remember you with pride and gratitude. You are in our thoughts and prayers. There is no cost. You are paying the price with your courage and patriotism.
If any family members or friends would like to have any of the above sent to their deployed friends or family members, please contact us at the same e-mail address [email protected] and include the mailing address of the person who is deployed. Thank you, Books for Troops
Books For Troops,Inc. was formed to thank the troops for their selfish sacrifices by sending them books. Why were books chosen? Below are many quotes that answers that question.
"Books are the blessed chloroform of the mind." Robert Chamko
"To read is to construct for yourself a refuge from all the miseries of life." W. Someset Maugham
"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are." Mason Cooley
"To read is to construct for yourself a refuge from the miseries of life." W. Somerset Maugham
"The greatest gift is a book. It consoles, it disturbs, it excites, it experiences places outside the world around it." Elizabeth Harwick
"Books is a refuge from the vulgarities of the real world." Walter Pater
"Reading makes immigrants of all. It takes us from home, but more importantly it finds home for us everywhere." Joan Rivers
"Reading: Medicine for the MInd." (Inscription over the library in Thebes, Greece
"With books I am able to place my own concerns aside and curl myself in the cocoon of somebody else's imagination." Kate Kerrigan
"Every story is a ride to some place and some time other than here and now." A.A.Patawan
"You're never alone when you are reading a book." Susan Wiggs
"Books support us in our solitude and keep us from being a burden to ourselves. "Jeremy Folder
"A room without books is like a body without a soul." Marcus Cicero
"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers." Charles William Elit
THAT IS WHY BOOKS FOR THE TROOPS!
Books For Troops, Inc. could not have asked for a better book than "When Books Went to War" by Molly Guptill Manning to convince the public that books have a tremendous impact on the morale of troops living in a warzone, recovering in a hospital, or protecting regional stability in several parts of the world.
Her book focuses on the use of books during World War II as the third major weapon that won the war, the other two being the men and their weapons. The government, led by its President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, united the country into a Victory Book Campaign, organized by librarians across the country when the troops began to ask for books to sustain morale and to counteract boredom. Hardcovers were sent to bases training in the US where the troops created libraries. However the books sent were hardcovers, because paperbacks were not in existence. When the troops went over seas the hardcovers book became a logistics problem because of their size and weight. The troops, ever mindful of the weight they had to carry, asked for light and small books that would easily fit into their pockets.
The government commissioned publishing companies to come up with such books that would be durable and no bigger than six and half by four and a half inches. These books were called Armed Services Editions (ASEs for short.) 12,000 carefully chosen titles were printed as ASEs and over the period of the war over 120 million books were sent to our troops both in the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Manning sites many of the responses that were received concerning the ASE's and the impact they had on morale. For many -- both at home and in battle -- they were considered very strong "weapons of the war." Marshall Spaulding, a major in the Army, said that books "made life worth living for our soldiers and the soldiers who fought with ours" and inspired "that amazing spirit of our American troops." "Even units weary from battle, dispirited and drained, emerged with renewed vitality after convalescing with books." He goes on to say, "Even though they were trained to kill, and subjected to indescrible brutalities on the front lines, the presence of books seemed to verify that the members of our army are still human beings."
Manning mentions that General Eisenhower in planning D-Day insisted that all men involved being given an ASE to help with the waiting time that was anticipated before the attack. Countless similar comments and reactions are recounted from all levels of military, the troops, the government at home, and the public. One of the unintended outcomes of the 120 million books being sent to the troops is that the number exceeded the 100 million books burned by Germany.
The book is complete with pictures of the troops reading in trenches, tents, of the leaders of the movements at home, including President and Mrs. Roosevelt and -- best of all -- an entire list of all the book titles and authors sent. "When Books Went To War" is a well researched and well documented concise history of the World War II, of the role of books in both winning the war and of them uniting a country in one goal of helping the troops to survive the war's brutality. That the government considered books so valuable that they included books as a necessary budgetary expense once more testifies to their value. The real impact of the book, however, comes from reading it in its entirety and seeing the expansion page after page of all topics mentioned above and more.
The troops did have a favorite book that required two printings it was so popular. To find out what it was, you have to buy the book. Molly Guptill Manning will be at the Barnes & Noble in Colonie Center in Albany on March 21st from 1-3. I will be there in line to buy another copy of her book since I want to share it with every book lover I know and could never part with my copy. If you can't make it to the book signing "When Books Went To War" is on sale at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.