Military Channel Airs Troop Valentine Messages

By Carmen L. Gleason
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2007 - Troops and their families are exchanging Valentine's Day video messages on air today through the Military Channel's "Operation V-Day."

The Discovery Communications cable network is saluting the men and women of the armed forces with a "heartfelt event" allowing them to say hello to the loved ones from whom they are separated.

The 24-hour event kicked off at 6 a.m. with troops deployed to Baghdad appearing before a video camera to send messages of love or to read poetry to the special people in their lives. One soldier took it a step farther and even proposed marriage.

"I would like to marry you when I get back home," the Army specialist said to his girlfriend back home. "So get ready to be my wife.

Nearly 1,900 messages will be airing throughout the day. These videos, collected by American Forces Network stations, are coming from servicemembers and their families worldwide. The affiliates began collecting the messages for airing in mid-January.

"The Military Channel is dedicated to all military subjects -- and most certainly that means men and women in uniform themselves," said Jill Bondurant, the organization's publicist.

The media outlet is the first to partner with the Defense Department's America Supports You program in an effort to broaden national awareness of ways viewers can support U.S. troops.

Bondurant said that the network is reinforcing its commitment to the military by being a voice for troops and opening up the airwaves so they can send messages back home.

The troops also are taking the opportunity to send messages to their home states and citizens in general.

After Army Capt. Christy Greenway, from Yakima, Wash., said hello to her niece, she thanked Americans for their support of soldiers deployed to combat.

This sentiment was echoed time and again as troops thanked family members for support and promised they would be home soon.

"Happy Valentine's Day to my lovely wife," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Welch, as he smiled into the camera from Iraq. "And thank you all for supporting our soldiers."

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