CBS Highlights Defense Department Program

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2007 - "The Early Show" on CBS took advantage of the New York's 20th annual Fleet Week to share its support and appreciation for the thousands of sailors and Marines enjoying the city, as well as for military members serving around the world.

John Bolaris, who was filling in for The Early Show's regular meteorologist, introduced viewers to the Defense Department's America Supports You program.

"We want to tell you about a special program devoted to the sacrifice that the servicemen and women do for our country and how much the American people appreciate their sacrifice," Bolaris said.

America Supports You connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad. It began in November 2004, and boasts dozens of corporate supporters and more than 250 home-front groups that work to support servicemembers worldwide.

"You probably understand how important it is for our military men and women to know that America supports them (and) appreciates the sacrifices that they're making," Roxie Merritt, an America Supports You spokeswoman and a retired Navy captain, said. "(It's) hard to tell sometimes when you're overseas and watching the news that you really are truly supported back here."

The program's corporate supporters and home-front groups work hard to make sure servicemembers know just how much appreciation they have from home. Among other forms of support, groups send care packages and provide assistance to deployed servicemembers' families and injured servicemembers working to reintegrate into civilian life.

"America Supports You groups do all kinds of wonderful things for us," Merritt said against a backdrop of sailors, Marines and an America Support You banner. Her comments were met with cheers from the servicemembers gathered outside the CBS studios.

"And that support, that morale, is much needed right now," Bolaris said.
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