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thedrifter
04-12-06, 08:30 AM
Letters, Thin Mints From Home
By Rhoda Amon, Newsday
April 12, 2006

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. — More than a million Girl Scout cookies are on their way to U.S. troops in Iraq, along with the well wishes of Brownie Scout Olivia DeSonne Ammaccapane and other Scouts.

"Dear Soldiers in Iraq, I hope you can come home soon…. I hope that you can survive," Olivia, 8, of Commack, wrote on borrowed notebook paper, after learning that Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who is leaving for Iraq next week, would deliver messages to the troops.

Israel, Olivia and a host of Suffolk County officials and Girl Scouts took part in a cookie-loading ceremony Tuesday at the Bay Shore Moving & Storage platform here.

"Thank you for fighting for our country," Olivia added in an impromptu letter she gave to Israel.

Though everyone has a right to disagree about the war in Iraq, Israel said at the Operation Cookie news conference, "no one has the right to forget those men and women who made the sacrifice."

The congressman, who leaves next Wednesday with a House Armed Services Committee delegation, said he last visited Iraq in January 2004, and "the situation has deteriorated."

Suffolk County legislator Jack Eddington, a Vietnam War veteran, said the cookies would give the soldiers and Marines "a moment that feels like being at home with their families."

In their letters, many of the Scouts said they hoped the cookies would be enjoyed. Sarah Doyle, 9, of West Babylon wrote: "Thank you for helping to protect us. I couldn't be as brave as you."

Sarah and hundreds of other Girl Scouts braved the rain last weekend to sell cookies and hand out Operation Cookie fliers at malls, supermarkets and public buildings, said Yvonne Grant, executive director of the Girl Scouts Council of Suffolk County.

Tuesday's shipment is "just the beginning" of Operation Cookie deliveries, which continue through May, she said. The program, in its fourth year, is supported by fire and police officials, veteran and service groups, businesses and families.

Ellie