Cards for Recovering Soldiers

Claim: Walter Reed Hospital will accept Christmas cards addressed to "A Recovering American Soldier."
Status: False.

The U.S. Postal Service will not accept mail http://www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/supportingfaqs.htm#H5
addressed to "Any Soldier," "Any Wounded Soldier," or the like because if it did, it could be providing a conduit for those who might do harm
to armed services members. Such offerings are either returned to sender (if a return address has been provided or if one is found within the
package) or donated to charities (if no address for the sender is found). Similarly, military hospitals will not accept letters, cards, or
packages addressed in such manner for the same reason. Such beneficences, no matter how kindly meant, are not permitted to reach the
soldiers they were intended for.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center officials echoed this information in a statement
http://www.wramc.amedd.army.mil/Lists/WRNews/DispForm.aspx?Id=25&
regarding the proposed plan to send cards to unnamed soldiers in its care:

Mail to Wounded and Recovering Soldiers

Walter Reed Army Medical Center officials want to remind those individuals who want to show their appreciation through mail to include
packages and letters, addressed to "Any Wounded Soldier" that Walter Reed will not be accepting these packages in support of the decision by
then Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy in 2001. This decision was made to ensure the safety and well being of patients
and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense.

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is no longer accepting "Any Service Member" or "Any Wounded Service Member" letters or packages. Mail to
"Any Service Member" that is deposited into a collection box will not be delivered.

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Instead of sending an "Any Wounded Soldier" letter or package to Walter Reed, please consider making a donation to one of the more than 300
nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping our troops and their families listed on the "America Supports You" website,
http://www.americasupportsyou.mil

Other organizations that offer means of showing your support for our troops or assist wounded servicemembers and their families include:

http://www.usocares.org/
http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/tooursoldiers/
http://www.redcross.org

For individuals without computer access, your local military installation, the local National Guard or military reserve unit in your
area may offer the best alternative to show your support to our returning troops and their families. Walter Reed Army Medical Center
will continue to receive process and deliver all mail that is addressed to a specific individual.

As Walter Reed continues to enhance the medical care and processes for our returning service members, it must also must keep our patients and
staff members safe while following Department of Defense policy. The outpouring of encouragement from the general public, corporate America
and civic groups throughout the past year has been incredible. Our Warriors in Transition are amazed at the thanks and support they receive
from their countrymen.

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Although the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is not accepting holiday cards for recovering soldiers, the American Red Cross has said that
small gifts may be sent to patients in that facility through them:

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center is ONLY accepting phone cards, CDs, individual small packets of candy, things like that; which they will
distribute among the soldiers (as they have a lot of in and out patients). They are not accepting Holiday Cards, as they don't have the
human resources to distribute them.

You may send your packets to:

American Red Cross
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20307-5000

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