By John Patterson Daily Herald State Government Editor
SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois National Guard offered advice Friday for those wanting to support the troops called to action because of the war with Iraq.
State military officials are not sending packages overseas but released a list of Web sites for organizations that sponsor programs for military members and their families.
Also, the Department of Defense has canceled programs that allowed the general public to send mail addressed to "Any Service Member." It was canceled because of security concerns and transportation constraints with military mail. But an e-mail version of the program does exist.
Illinois National Guard officials also discouraged people from trying to get around the canceled program by sending large numbers of packages to an individual service member's address. While well-intentioned, officials said doing so clogs military mail and causes delays.
Here are the Web sites for a variety of military-related support programs:
• The newspaper Stars and Stripes publishes a daily "Messages of Support" section for family and friends of service members. Messages are limited to 50 words and are printed on a first-come, first-run basis. The e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the Web sites of various military relief organizations:
Essentially, the two parties get 8 free hours of advertising in prime time on the big networks. Plus, there is a lot of attention after the fact. So, it makes me wonder what impact this has on the election.