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Friday, 16 December 2005
From Iraq,
this will make you smile

An Update from


This is a small happy story on a great day when Iraq celebrates a big happy story with its election.

Over a year ago we launched a project called "Operation Snapshot" in response to a request from Marines in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. They asked for Polaroid cameras and film so they could take pictures of local children and families and give those Polaroid photos as gifts.

Back then LtCol Jeff Vold emailed us, "in the end 200-300 Polaroid cameras with plenty of film spread across the Division zone may go farther in establishing enduring relations than a thousand soccer balls!" This also fit with my experience in Iraq (and pretty much anywhere else in the world). People love pictures of themselves. The original project is described here:

Fortunately, you - our donors - provided the money for the cameras and film. We sent 160 cameras and 2900 packs of film to Iraq. Unfortunately, violence in Al Anbar prevented the kind of interaction with Iraqis that the Marines hoped for and delayed the project.

Things are getting better. And, finally - a year later - Operation Snapshot is underway. A message from Sgt. Charity Lewis, USMC follows below. And the pictures tell the story!

Like the Marines above, we all hope the cameras and film will help reduce the need for the rest of their gear. You can see more photos here: (If you blog please link):

And here:

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and Happy New Year from all of us at Spirit of America to you and your loved ones. Thank you for your support that makes possible stories like the one above. They warm our hearts. We hope they do the same for you.

Jim Hake and the Spirit of America team

ps: As we're in the "giving season," we would appreciate it if you would consider a gift to Spirit of America or one our active projects. We believe your donation can be put to excellent use. You can give online via credit card or by phone or check. Details here:


Message from Sgt Charity Lewis, United States Marine Corps

From: Charity Lewis
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 3:41 AM
To: Michele Redmond
Subject: Polaroids


Thank you so much. I was completely amazed. I am always thankful to get out of this office and out into the field. This, by far, was the greatest adventure yet.

We convoyed out and drove to a local Iraqi Army Station, from there the IA Soldiers took on us a foot patrol out to a local school not far from their area.

Yes, it was a little tense, but once we arrived at the school the children started to come from everywhere. The team I was with was delivering backpacks and I toted along with my backpack full of Polaroids and film.

The pictures were the hit of the day. I showed the Iraqi Soldiers how to take pictures and just let them go with it.

Again, thanks for all your support.


This e-mail was sent by Spirit of America, located at 12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 558, Los Angeles, CA 90025 in the USA. To not receive further e-mails, please click here or reply to this e-mail with "unlist" in the Subject line

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Posted by ky/kentuckydan at 9:06 AM CST
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Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005 7:44 PM CST

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