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Suport the USO; support our troops

In our St. Louis neighborhood, at the church we attended regularly, we were taught early on that giving is a virtue. Our religion through doctrine suggested that to be in “good standing” that 10% as a tithe be given to charity or to the church. Since high school, I have followed an inflexible stewardship program that only seems to fuel my compassion.

In my 70s now, I still practice this spiritual principle of stewardship I learned as a teenager, which also affords me certain privileges via the IRS. Although our tax laws are in flux for the 2007 tax year, we are still permitted deductions on our annual tax returns for charitable giving. But a hint or two:

“Make sure you collect adequate evidence of your charitable contributions. Under a recent rule change. the IRS no longer considers personal bank registers, diary entries or notes you write to yourself as acceptable documentation, though canceled checks still count.” — Money Advisor, October 2007.

In other words, get a receipt when you give. Or keep your canceled check.

Recently a friend who read my article on Ken Burn’s The War sent me the gift of a book, Selected Chaff by Al McIntosh. A rare and emotional microscopic look at the citizens of Laverne, Minnesota, affected by that war.

In it, one prophetic story circa January 29, 1942, spoke to me on the issue of stewardship and giving. The story is as follows:

A Hardwick man came to Millard the other day for help in having his income tax return made out. Cliff went over the figures, filled out the return, and then told him that no tax payment was necessary.

“I don’t care what the figures show,” retorted the man. “I want to beat Hitler so bad I am going to pay a tax anyway.” And he sat down and wrote out a $20 check.

So the collector of the Internal Revenue … has an income tax report showing no payment is due but with the return is the $20 check and a note of explanation.

— Al McIntosh, Selected Chaff

We to can follow in principle Cliff’s example. Although not required to support the Iraq War with an increase in our taxes, we can financially help our soldiers and their families in this horrendous conflict. We don’t have to send any money to the government, but we can make donations that will benefit our men and women in uniform in Iraq and around the world.


The USO (United Service Organizations) is currently conducting their annual funding campaign. The USO works to boost the morale of our soldiers overseas (and their families at home) but receives no funding from the government. It runs on donations from people like you and me. The spectacular service they provide comes from ordinary people in small cities like Clarksville, big cities like Boston or New York, and small towns and communities in every corner of our country.

While I profoundly oppose this unnecessary (Iraq) war, and have since the beginning, I will still be supportive of our troops. Giving a generous donation and soliciting donations for this organization is a fine way to support our soldiers.

The USO is an opportunity to clearly demonstrate our concern for the welfare of our men and women in uniform, whether we support the war itself or not. Our civic organizations, political parties, and churches are invited to participate in this effort to suport our military.

Donations to the USO can be mailed to USO World Headquarters, Dept. WS, PO Box 96860, Washington DC 20090-6860.


Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland
Rev. Charles Moreland, retired, has lived in Clarksville for seven years and holds great pride in his adopted city and its people. His one objection in Tennessee is the Hall law of taxes on dividends and savings. Charles served in the U.S. Army Chaplaincy from 1966-1986, retiring to serve as a United Methodist pastor near Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He serves on the Boards of Directors for the ARP, Roxy Theater and MCDP. Though retired, he is a regular speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. His five grandchildren, ages two to thirteen years, live in Evansville, Indiana. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and served in Germany and Korea while on active duty.

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