Web Site Gives Public Chance Thank Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2008 - A new Web site is giving the American public a nonpartisan opportunity to join entertainers, professional athletes and politicians in expressing gratitude to servicemembers defending the nation.

"What we wanted to do and, I think, something that we were equipped to do, was to provide a forum that is really meant to be uplifting [to servicemembers]," said Stacey Artandi, founder of "Moment of Thanks." "It's meant to say [to Americans], 'Shed your politics. Put them aside, and take a moment to be grateful for some of the things that we really cherish.'"

The Moment of Thanks site is one way parent company SheZoom, a video site for women and families, is working to keep troops and support for them at the top of everyone's mind, she said.

It allows for the upload of videos, photos or text containing a positive message for the troops at no cost. Registration is required to upload material, however.

Launched July 4, the Moment of Thanks site already boasts more than 1,000 video messages of heartfelt thanks and support for the troops, more than half of them filmed by Artandi's team.

A trip to Las Vegas led the team to collect messages from cast and crew members at various shows, and a theme emerged.

"When we went to Vegas, we thought we ought to get some shows," Artandi said. "We've got Star Trek, Jersey Boys, Stomp and the Chippendales. Next week is kind of 'Vegas Week' [on Moment of Thanks].

"It's a flavorful week," she said with a chuckle.

Another planned theme will highlight longer messages that include personal stories to which troops might relate. In that group will be the story of a World War II Marine who fought on Iwo Jima and lost his brother to the war.

Though the initiative will continue well past the end of the year, the goal is to have 100,000 messages of support by then. The key to meeting that goal is getting the word out, Artandi said. The Moment of Thanks team has had some help with that task.

"From the very beginning when we started this, we reached out to ... 'Soldiers' Angels,' [which] was incredibly responsive, because [our mission] so clearly meshed with their mission to do anything to support the troops," she said. "They've been helping make introductions to people and helping to spread the word within their organization."

Soldiers' Angels, a troop-support organization, is a supporter of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program, connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and overseas.

Led by SheZoom and sponsored by Kodak Gallery, the Moment of Thanks initiative already has come full circle, Artandi said.

"We're actually beginning to have some soldiers respond back to us," she said. "They're saying, 'Thanks for saying thanks.'"

*Related Sites:*
Moment of Thanks  [ ]
Soldiers' Angels  [ ]
Web Site Gives Public Chance Thank Troops [ ]