What to include in a letter to a soldier depends largely on whether they are currently deployed in active duty, wounded or veterans of past conflicts, notes Operation Gratitude. In the latter case, it is appropriate to express thanks for their military service. Gratitude can also be expressed to soldiers who are currently deployed, but there should be more of an emphasis on positivity, aiming to brighten the recipient's day.
Letters to soldiers on active duty should avoid negative topics that might cause distress for the recipient. These include death, killing, politics and excessive references to religion. It is appropriate for letter writers to share information about themselves and ask questions, provided the general tone remains upbeat.
Operation Gratitude, an organization that facilitates the sending of letters to deployed soldiers and veterans, suggests beginning the letter with a salutation such as "Dear Hero" or "Dear Brave One." Personal contact details, including postal or email addresses, should be included to allow soldiers to reply, should they decide to.
Especially appreciated are letters written by hand, as opposed to typed on a computer. However, decorations like glitter should be avoided.
Letters to veteran soldiers should also be upbeat, even if their military service was a long time ago. It is never too late to express gratitude to veterans, and such thanks are generally greatly appreciated.