Message claims that people can send Christmas greetings to wounded soldiers by addressing cards to “A Recovering American soldier” care of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The addressing information contained in the message is incorrect. The original Walter Reed Army Medical Center has now closed. See the Detailed Analysis below for more information about giving cards via the “Holidays for Heroes” program operated by the American Red Cross.
Subject: FW: Christmas Cards
GREAT IDEA!! When doing your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get.
When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:
A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
If you approve, please pass it on.
This message advises recipients that they can send Christmas cards addressed to “A Recovering American Soldier” care of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While this might seem like a good way to show support for wounded soldiers, the information in the message is incorrect. Cards sent to “A Recovering American soldier” or similar will not be accepted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In fact, the original Walter Reed Army Medical Center closed down in August 2011. The facility was reborn as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and is now located in Bethesda.
So, sending a card to the address specified in above hoax message is a futile gesture that will help nobody. However, you can help veterans via the Holidays For Heroes program operated by the American Red Cross. The program’s website notes:
The Holiday Mail for Heroes program is now Holidays for Heroes. This change allows local Red Cross offices to identify and engage in a variety of activities that thank and recognize members of the military and veterans living in our communities. There is no longer a national Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box to which cards are sent. Please contact your local Red Cross office for details.
Versions of the above message begin circulating anew every year as Christmas approaches. If it should come your way please let the sender know that the address information in the message is incorrect and direct him or her to the Red Cross Holidays For Heroes website. To reiterate, mail addressed to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center will not reach any recovering soldiers.
A UK-based version of the hoax message is also circulating. The UK version also contains incorrect information. For details of the UK version, see:
Do NOT Send Christmas Cards For Recovering Soldiers To Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Last updated: December 6, 2016
First published: November 12, 2007
By Brett M. Christensen