Under the national media radar, a group of mostly elderly women have been quietly supporting in their own way our troops overseas.
In connection with the American Legion Auxiliary, they meet in legion halls and retirement communities to clip discount coupons that are then bundled up and sent off to military families overseas where the coupons can be redeemed at commissaries and PXs.
Military pay is no one's idea of how to get rich, and the coupons are surely helpful to military families with children, especially with the sliding dollar diminishing their local buying power. To help out, the bases honor the coupons for up to six months after the expiration date.
The coupon clipping is an informal sort of thing, but it does mount up. The national office of the American Legion Auxiliary in Indianapolis told The Washington Post that it mails as much as $54 million worth of coupons a year.
Post reporter William Wan, who profiled some clipping circles in the capital suburbs, noted that many of the women are old enough to remember - and some of them actually served in - World War II, when scrimping and saving on the home front was seen as a way of helping the war effort. That degree of sacrifice hasn't been asked of the public today, so that makes the coupon ladies' efforts especially generous and noble.