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Caring for soldiers simple as toothpaste, letters

Nov. 10, 2005

by NATALIE COOK, columnist

The other night, I had dinner with my brother, went to H-E-B for toothpaste, read over material for an upcoming project, paid my bills and searched the Internet for possible jobs.

Right now, my biggest stresses are getting a job before I graduate in May and doing my part to please the whole family in my plans for our annual family vacation to Walt Disney World this Christmas.

I just turned 23 this September and I'm almost in the real world.

Yet across the globe, Americans my age and younger are fighting so I can continue to lead this seemingly mundane life.

Almost all of us know someone overseas involved in the war against terrorism.

But what do we do to help? As bullets fly across our peers' heads, I can go about my business here in the Baylor Bubble and stress over academic projects, which parties to go to and where I want to live after graduation.

Tonight, Baylor students will have the opportunity to hear from someone who represents our fellow Americans who have lived through the war in Iraq.

Capt. Tony Rodriguez served our nation and represented us all well when his battalion found and captured Saddam Hussein.

This Fort Hood soldier will share his personal journey in the war using pictures and video from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tonight in Bennett Auditorium.

Rodriguez will later return to Iraq for another tour of duty to serve us all alongside the many other Americans who have vowed to defend freedom. Through tonight's discussion, we will be able to see into the lives of the soldiers who protect us.

Last weekend I saw Jarhead. The movie focused on the perspective of the soldiers in Desert Storm instead of the politics of the war.

It made the Army and other armed services not just an occupation but a culture within itself: A supportive culture that is united as one as soldiers live in the uncertainty of what each day may bring.

Our days are very different, yet we are all alike. We are Americans, Texans, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. Our worlds may seem different, but our needs will always be the same.

We are a part of an inclusive culture, the Baylor family. Together, we can make a difference to our peers who are a world away in Iraq fighting for our freedom, for our mundane days.

Tonight at Rodriguez's presentation, student government will launch a campaign in which Baylor student organizations can adopt an American soldier. Through this adoption, each organization can help provide its soldier's basic needs. By showing our appreciation, support and love, we can fulfill the most basic need -- to be needed and appreciated.

All Baylor students should get involved in this campaign and show the soldiers of Fort Hood the amazing support Baylor students can give. We have come together through athletic accomplishments like our win in football over Texas A&M University last year and our NCAA champion Lady Bear basketball team.

Now, we have the chance to show that enthusiasm to our peers at war for America, a team we all cheer and root for. This is not an issue of partisan debate or scheduling time in our busy Baylor schedule.

It can be as simple as toothpaste and one letter that can bring a smile to a face across the globe.

Natalie Cook is a senior public relations major from Katy.