DEAR ABBY: I am currently stationed in Bosnia, and while the conditions here are not pleasant, they are getting more bearable. I am concerned because I received an "Any Soldier"-type Valentine's Day card and the return address was not on it. The child who took the time and effort to send it deserves an answer.
We arrived here about 9:30 p.m. in a fog so thick we had a hard time seeing the road in front of us. While crossing a bridge, my soldiers and I flew the American flag from the mirrors of our vehicle and played "God Bless America" as loudly as my poor little tape player could go. It took about a week before the fog cleared enough to see that we were surrounded by mountains that were capped with snow!
We work pretty hard here. We were given a day to ourselves to do our laundry and clean our gear. It was almost a month before we got to take showers. We did the best we could with bottled water and moist towelettes, living three men in a tent.
Now we have tents with floors and heaters and flush toilets within easy walking distance. There is a convenience store that just opened, but they're having problems getting the basic items like shoe polish and soap.
Abby, no amount of conveniences can compensate for the loneliness we feel here. It's the mail we get from people back home that keeps our spirits alive. Of course, we are surrounded by fellow soldiers, but you can be lonely in a crowd. The letters we get from people who care enough to write warm our hearts while we watch the snow fall on the mud we walk through every day.
To the child who sent the valentine (and the others who wrote), thanks a million -- our thoughts are with you as much as yours are with us. -- DAVID K. BURTON, A SOLDIER IN BOSNIA
DEAR DAVID: Thank you for writing and rest assured that my readers will continue to write to "Any Soldier." May God bless all of you and bring you home to your loved ones safely -- and soon.
For those who may have missed the addresses to write to the military in Bosnia, send letters and parcels (preferably no larger than a shoebox) to: ANY SERVICE MEMBER, OPERATION JOINT ENDEAVOR, APO AE 09397 (for Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps land forces); or ANY SERVICE MEMBER, OPERATION JOINT ENDEAVOR, FPO AE 09398 (for Navy and Marine Corps personnel aboard ship).