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Marine Thankful for VFW "Free Call Day"

     

Sgt. Erik Smith

Sgt. Erik Smith, 29, of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines of Fox Company, walked to the communications tent on Memorial Day to make a call home. As he prepared to enter his phone card’s number, he received a surprising message:

"I'm George Lisicki, Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The 1.7 million members of the VFW are proud to provide you this free call to connect with your family on Memorial Day.”

“I had no idea!” said a shocked Smith. “It was great news. I didn’t have to worry about hanging on to a phone card or losing it. I just had to dial a number. Simple as that.”

Smith loves the idea of a "Free Call Day." With ever-increasing call rates and a limited number of card-compliant phones, "Free Call Days" open up a greater window for troops to hear the voices of the ones they love.

“Plus, we don’t have to worry about the card running out in the middle of a call.”

Having the "Free Call Day" on Memorial Day offered the troops a rare opportunity to step back and reflect. For Fox Company, a service was held to honor their fallen comrades.

In the meantime, service members could call home and speak with family and friends back in the U.S. who undoubtedly had their heroes on their mind.

Smith, a platoon section leader from Waukesha, Wis., used his 20-minute airtime to talk to his wife, Rachel, remembering a time when they spent holidays together.

“We discussed Memorial Days of the past. We would normally head up to her parent's house for a family get-together and a little R&R from our busy lives,” explained Smith.

“This program is a definite morale boost,” Smith continued. “As veterans, we all share a common bond. It is a humbling feeling when people you don’t even know raise money for something like a 'Free Call Day' and allow us to call home for no charge. It reminds us that America still supports her warriors.

“It was really nice to have a day where we could honor the fallen as well as call home to our families.”

VFW is hosting "Free Call Days" every month in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.


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