By Boot Recruit Myra
Of all the birthday cards I’ve received in my lifetime, I remember the Sandra Boynton one the most. It was popular in the mid-eighties, which is a key detail for what I’m going to “confess”. My card came with a set of flannel Boynton kitty sheets. Here’s the confession part: I admit right now that those sheets still exist in my house, 24 years later! They are worn to the thread, but my kids refuse to part with them! They’re irreplaceable, even though they should be thrown out. Believe me I’ve tried, but great wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued! Some birthday gifts are so remarkable. You don’t realize it at first, but each year that it remains with you, the harder it is to imagine life without it.
A year ago, at a concert in East Texas 5 girls set out to give a gift to our active military. I don’t think they realized how remarkable their plan was, or that so many people would find great enthusiasm in supporting their motto “When They Come Back, We Give Back” when they formed the Boot Campaign.
I’m sure they never expected in less than a year the boots would be on back-order due to demand. It’s certain that none of these girls drummed up this idea just to gain 5000 fans on Facebook in less than 100 days, because these girls are very friendly on their own! Just think, there are generals, reality T.V hosts, country music stars, professional football, baseball and hockey players, cheerleaders (of the Dallas Cowboy kind), governors, political talk show hosts, radio personalities and the like who put their Boots on and each day the list grows!
I doubt they thought about how much it would change their own lives or the impact it would have on people like Marcus Luttrell, who said that the Boot Campaign has “raised awareness about the military and Veterans. It has brought new people from all walks of life into my world by creating a network of contacts that has enabled our campaign to reach boundaries that might have been nowhere in our grasp.”
Boot Girl Heather’s life will never be the same, that’s for sure! She said:
The last year with the Boot Campaign has had such a great affect on my life that I honestly can’t remember what I was doing before this! It’s like trying to extract the cup of flour from a piece of baked birthday cake (and I LOVE cake). Reading the account of Lone Survivor made me realize that I was not meant to fight but I was definitely grateful to those who do. My battle is here at home when the soldiers come back. I avoid political conversations at all costs but helping design the message of the Boot Campaign has helped me say thank you without a word and helped me to encourage others to do the same because I have MY boots on!
Mostly though, I don’t think the Boot Girls ever realized in a year, they would impact
so many lives themselves. The gift they intended to give to our military became an amazing gift they gave to America. And the response is profound. Enough so that a birthday card and cake showed up for them recently at the Country For Our Country Concert on September 11. It read: Happy Birthday Boot Girls! Love, America!