Christmas Cards for Recovering American Soldiers

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Writing Christmas cards
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Viral message circulating via email and social media says Christmas cards can be sent to wounded U.S. servicemen and women by addressing the envelopes to "A Recovering American Soldier" care of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.

Description: Viral rumor
Circulating since: Oct. 2007
Status: Outdated / False

Example:
Email text contributed by Cindi B., Oct. 30, 2007:

A Great Idea!!!

When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

If you approve of the idea, please pass it on to your e-mail list.


Analysis: No longer true. One of the consequences of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 is that the U.S. Postal Service will no longer deliver mail addressed to "A Recovering American Soldier," "Any Service Member" or any similar generic addressee.

This is to protect the safety of American servicemen and women. Likewise, according to a statement dated November 8, 2007, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) will no longer accept such mail at its facility, though mail addressed to specific individuals will still go through.

The Army recommends instead making donations to one of the nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting the troops and their families listed at www.ourmilitary.mil, or to the American Red Cross (see update below).

Holiday Mail for Heroes - Beginning in 2006, the American Red Cross instituted a nationwide program to facilitate the collection and distribution of holiday greeting cards for wounded and recovering military personnel at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and similar facilities.

It's called Holiday Mail for Heroes. As of 2015, the program is still in operation, though there is no longer a single designated address to which cards should be sent.

For details, please visit the Red Cross website.

Sources and further reading:

Mail to 'Any Soldier' Is Returned or Tossed
Associated Press, 12 December 2007

Holiday Mail for Heroes
WTSP-TV News, 3 November 2011

More than 2.1 Million Cards Sent Through Holiday Mail for Heroes
American Red Cross press release, 23 January 2014

Last updated: 11/18/15