Three years after Saddam’s regime crumbled, Iraq is a better place. Where mass graves and torture facilities once dominated the landscape, an open economy is emerging.
Today’s Iraq is very much different than that of the former dictator. No longer must Iraqi soccer players fear the wrath of Saddam’s sons when they lose a match. Hope is in the air; and though occasional setbacks occur, Americans can rightfully feel proud of the work the brave members of our Armed Forces are doing in Iraq. With every terrorist captured and every school reopened, our soldiers breathe new life into Iraqi society and give people there, even more hope for the future.
This Memorial Day, as Americans salute the flag and enjoy the company of loved ones safe at home, we should ask ourselves how we can help our brave men and women in uniform and thank them for the sacrifices they have made to defend America and fight terrorism around the world.
It has always been my mission to entertain and support our military. My first USO/DoD tour was 45 years ago and I recently returned from our 18th tour around the world. It’s because of this fact I was chosen to represent Products for Good LLC, an organization formed to market and sell un-circulated Iraqi coins de-commissioned by Saddam Hussein during his reign of power. These coins are beautifully incased in shadowboxes and assembled in North Carolina and are a memory for those lost, in America’s determined effort to free the people of Iraq.
The group donates 25% of ALL REVENUES from the sale of the shadowboxes to groups including Operation Family Fund (OFF), a non-profit organization that gives financial grants to help families endure the loss of a fallen soldier and take care of their sons and daughters wounded in the Global War on Terror. The goal of Products for Good is not a small one; it hopes to donate more than $20 million from the sale of the shadowboxes. I reveled in the irony of the situation: these American patriots were not only aiding our wounded heroes, they were using Saddam’s money to do it.
Like the images of Iraqis celebrating the fall of Saddam’s statue in Baghdad and later pressing their thumbs wet with purple ink onto the election ballots in Iraq’s first free and democratic election in years, the idea of something so evil being used for something so good really spoke to me. I knew this was one way that I, a regular citizen who was lucky enough to live the American dream doing what I loved, could help those, who do so much to keep us free.
This Memorial Day, as Americans everywhere ask themselves "How can I help," I hope they will see Products for Goods’ effort as a worthy cause. They will not only receive a beautiful symbol of our freedom, they will be supporting the wounded American veterans who have given so much in defense of our country and our freedom.
I hope everyone will have the opportunity to spend this Memorial Day weekend with their friends and families, watch fireworks displays and cookout in backyards and parks across this great land. But more importantly, I hope that they take the time to realize that freedom is not free and that those who advanced its cause in Iraq deserve our support now more than ever.
(To learn more about the coins and Products For Good’s effort to support our brave wounded soldiers with Saddam’s former tools of greed and evil, visit www.productsforgood.com.)