Skip to comments.United Methodist teen promotes National Military Appreciation month
Posted on 05/09/2005 12:31:12 PM PDT by Prov3456
A 16-year-old United Methodist from California is the national spokesperson for National Military Appreciation Month.
Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month last year and Shauna Fleming wants it to be the "biggest and best" celebration ever.
Last year she started a campaign to collect and send a million thank you notes to America's military service men and women. She's been there, done that and has the picture of herself with President George W. Bush to prove it.
Fleming is well on her way to her next goal of collecting 1.4 million letters--symbolically one for every person serving in the Armed Forces. She has also written a book about her experience A MILLION THANKS, published by Doubleday Books.
Academy Award nominated actor Gary Sinise surprised Fleming at a studio in Los Angeles and offered to help her promote National Military Month. Country music star John Michael Montgomery lent her "Letters From Home," to use as her theme song and NASCAR drivers have joined with her to generate more letters for the military.
Later this month, Fleming will be speaking at Light of the Canyon United Methodist Church, Orange, Calif. and telling her church family "any one can make a difference."
"My faith is the most important part of my life," she says. "I just remember God has a bigger plan for me and sees the big picture. That just gives me so much strength and so much confidence in who I am."
Confidence seems to be something she has in great supply. Speaking to United Methodist News Service on her lunch break at Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif., seems like just another day in the life for her.
"My mom has always told me when I was four I could have run her house if she would have let me," she says, laughing. "I have always been strong willed and very determined, but I never would have thought I would be so comfortable speaking in public."
Since then, she has done so many radio interviews she could "do them in my sleep."
"I never would have imagined I would be like that but I sincerely enjoy it and I love going to places to speak. I love letting people know the experiences that I have had, letting them know they can make a difference as well."
Fleming was challenged by her father to collect a million thank you notes for the military last year. He and Alice Wax, who pushed Congress to designate May as National Appreciation Month, have started an Armed Forces Education Fund, a charity for the children of fallen soldiers.
"I thought doing something for Military Appreciation Month would just be awesome especially since it was just starting out," she explains. "I saw after Sept. 11 that yellow ribbons went up, flags went out but as the months wore on, there was not so much patriotism anymore. I want to get people excited about it and let them know they can do whatever they want to honor the military."
May includes VE Day, Military Spouse Day, Loyalty Day, Armed Forces Day/Week, National Day of Prayer and Memorial Day.
"This very important month therefore, honors those Americans who have given their lives in defense of our nation's freedom and the men and women now serving in uniform," says a statement on the Web site, http://www.nmam.org/.
Fleming has received many phone calls, emails and handwritten letters from the men and women in Iraq who have gotten some of the thank you letters. One soldier told her because of the program he now has 30 pen pals. "He doesn't have much of a family or close friends and he didn't really get much mail," she says.
"Most of the guys expect letters from family and friends but when you get them [from] complete strangers, that's a whole different thing."
One Marine base in Iraq sent Fleming a thank you letter signed by everyone and an "American flag that was flown over their base with Iraqi dirt all over it."
"I wasn't looking for appreciation out of this at all, I was just looking to make a difference in other people's lives but when I get letters from troops, it makes it so worth it and just puts a huge smile on my face."
Fleming kicked off the month at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama and plans to end the month in Washington with Sinise, when his "Lieutenant Dan Band," will perform. In between, Fleming says she will be out there doing whatever is asked of her to promote Military Appreciation Month.
Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
and please forward to everyone you know!
This teen hasn't been stifled by the UMC hierarchy yet?
The day I left they were raising money to build a VC field hospital and outlaw handguns. This Kid has a lot to learn.
Support a church and a denomination that marches with abortionists, anarchists and communists!? I don't think so.
Understood. The day I left another mainline, they were re-imagining God.....
My thoughts exactly. I gave up on the Methodist Church I was born into after the minister said - on the 4th of July - that there is nothing special about the United States and that we are in no way better or more moral than any other country. He also told us we had to forgive Jane Fonda because too much time had passed and we must let some things go.
We quit going to the local UMC when we became a 'giving unit' instead of a family.
The church supported BSA troop has since been told to get rid of any assistant scoutmasters/leaders who were not members of the church. At one time we had Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and Jews as leaders and scouts who turned Tenderfoots into Eagles at an astonishing rate. Very sad what it has become.
Thanks for the ping. I will be getting the word out to many friends
"What do the American Civil Liberties Union, the Episcopal Church USA, Planned Parenthood of America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the National Organization for Women, and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society all have in common? Answer: Each is either an organizer or an endorser of Sunday's pro-abortion rights "March for Women's Lives" in Washington, DC."
That said, shouldn't we applaud and encourage them when they do something right?!
IMHO, it is negative and judgemental attitudes like this which give all Christians "bad names" among secular and atheistic Americans.
I disagree with much within the UMC, but on this I agree. I think she's doing a great thing and we should help her accomplish her goal--not criticize her.
Your morally ambiguous post, attempting to defend the indefensible, makes you an apt spokesman for the UMC. I did not think anyone would be shameless enough to try and do so, but here you are.
You claim to know that the UMC does horrible things, but then suggest that I am the problem by making them own what they do and say, by posting it. Is that the kind of moral decernment one acquires as a member of the UMC? Smacks of moral relativism to me.
You seem to think yourself a Christan, so why don't you try this. Tonight in your regularly scheduled evening prayer time, try asking the Lord Jesus Christ if He cares more about 1.7 million letters, or the 40 million lives of His children, killed in the womb, out of convenience. Ask Him what He thinks about the UMC's good deeds. Get back to us with His response.
Your response, of course, should be to repent of the sin of having been complicit in the massacre of God's most innocent and vulnerable babies. You know, you can not love Jesus and turn a blind eye to abortion, much less promote it as does the UMC, in all its horrid forms. If you can't be honest with yourself about this, how can you be honest before God?
If you have any shame or fear of God, you'll repent this moment. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.
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