As I sit here writing this, I am reminded of the fact that this is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. All across the country, there will be remembrances and commemorations of this day, which really puts things into perspective when you stop to think about the fact that we are once again, sixty-plus years later, embroiled in another war. This is a difficult situation any time of the year, but it’s especially heart-rending during the holidays.
Whenever I see a clip of a soldier wishing his family well during this season, something pulls a little harder at my heart and I say an extra prayer for their safe return to their families. And I give thanks for the fact that there are people out there who are willing to give up their time, their holidays – and even their lives – so that I might live in a world that is safer for their efforts. Growing up, I was surrounded by people who served their country in such a way. My own father did tours in both the Army and the Air Force. His brother also served in the Army. My mother and one of her brothers served in the Air Force. My stepfather and two of his sons served in the Army and one served in the Marines. My stepmother’s two sons served in the Army. And that’s just my closest relatives.
Fortunately for me and for my rather large family, all of my relatives came back to us safely, some of them better off than the others. Of the group, my father and one of my mother’s uncles (who served in the Army) probably fared the worst. My uncle came back from World War II a little worse for the wear and spent many of his remaining years (for most of the time I knew him) in a veteran’s hospital. My father, who served during the Korean Conflict, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, which exacerbated his bipolar disorder. In his later years, he was in and out of veterans’ hospitals and never did get a good handle on his condition.
This brings to mind all of the veterans of our current wars and how they often return home damaged in some way. Whether it’s a traumatic brain injury or post traumatic stress disorder, they come home with a condition they did not have when they went overseas to serve their country in this war. I think we owe it to them to take care of them as they took care of us.
So as you grumble through your every day life or brave the malls to shop for your loved ones this Christmas, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate our men and women who keep our country safe. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard or National Guard, Police Force or Fire Department, they are all one. They are the people who make our country safe, our world safe. They are the people who make it possible for us to live in relative peace in a country where we still have the freedom to make our own choices and enforce our rights. To all of our soldiers and military personnel, to all of our police officers and firemen – and women! – I say a hearty THANK YOU and I send out into the universe my wish that you all remain safe always but especially in this holiday season. You are never far from my thoughts. And to your families, I also say a hearty THANK YOU for allowing your loved ones to serve us and for taking good care of them when they come home. You are truly special people.
Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season!