12/07/05 — Away from home: Many will spend holidays protecting our freedom

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Away from home: Many will spend holidays protecting our freedom

The message on the card was simple: “Thank you for protecting me and my country,” the Wayne County elementary school child wrote. “You are very brave to fight for us.”

The drawing that accompanied the heartfelt words depicted a Christmas scene — a cheery greeting for one of the many airmen who won’t be able to spend the holidays with their families this year.

There are a number of officers and enlisted men and women at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for whom this Christmas will be spent at work and not on break with their families.

They are part of a much-larger group of heroes who will also be busy protecting their country around the globe rather than sitting down to a festive dinner and the opening of presents around a Christmas tree.

So, as we prepare our own celebrations, this is a good time to think a little about those who will not be able to get home or to get away to be with their loved ones on this, one of the most precious of our country’s holidays.

And we should also remember the families who will also wait anxiously for word from their mother, father, sister, brother or son or daughter this Christmas. It can’t be easy knowing someone you love is so far away and faces danger every day, even on the holiday.

There are a few ways we as a community and as a nation can help make the holidays a little brighter for some of our young men and women. We can make cards and cookies for airmen who are here this Christmas rather than with their own families. We can send greetings to the men and women who are serving overseas.

We can also donate to organizations that provide a little bit of home to the members of the armed forces who are stationed thousands of miles from their own hometowns.

But most importantly, as we pause also to mark the anniversary of Pearl Harbor today, we can appreciate and acknowledge the service so many have given and the prices they have paid for all of us to be free.

Saying thank you, remembering a veteran or honoring a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, is a great way to show that we not only have not forgotten the sacrifices made on Dec. 7, 1941, and after, but that we intend to continue our support for those who are serving now.

And, while we are at it, we can promise to cherish and protect the freedoms these men and women have fought for and will continue to fight for as long as there are a country and a flag to protect.

There couldn’t be a better time than Christmas to show our respect and gratitude.

Published in Editorials on December 7, 2005 11:01 AM