Let me first say "Thank you" to all our service men and women who have protected our freedoms. On behalf of the Tulsa Metro Salvation Army, we are deeply grateful and indebted to you.
The Salvation Army and the United States military have a long and mutually satisfying history. During World War I (the war to end all wars - so we had hoped), Salvation Army personnel were sworn in as Army Privates so they could serve alongside our fighting men in the European theater. Most of these "soldiers" were women. They were trained as nurses and sent to serve in makeshift hospitals behind battle fronts in France. They not only helped mend the bodies of wounded fighting men, they also brought healing to their weary, lonely souls. The Salvation Army "Lassies" sang to the troops, helped them write letters to home, prepared meals, and directed worship services. But the greatest spirit-lifter was the good old American doughnut. The "Doughnut Girls", as they became known, would fry up hundreds of these sugary pastries every day. Soldiers would line up and patiently wait for a taste of home.
During World War II many Salvation Army locations across the United States were used as local USO sites. Soldiers would often times go to the Salvation Army building for relaxation. Salvation Army personnel would play music, show movies, lead games, offer letter writing materials, and serve refreshments for free to help distract soldiers from thoughts of where they had just been, or where they about to go. It was a service that many said helped them get through the war.
Today, in some military towns Salvation Army canteens (mobile kitchens) greet returning soldiers as they disembark from overseas service, serving them and their loved ones snacks and beverages, and giving them "Welcome Home" gifts.
Numerous Salvation Army officers have been commissioned as Chaplains throughout the years and served alongside our soldiers bringing comfort and courage. It has been, and remains to this day, our distinct honor to serve those who serve this country.
Thank you all for your service.
God bless you!
Major Jim Taylor
Tulsa Area Commander