Thursday, December 6, 2012

Some Serve, So That Others Can Celebrate in Freedom

With Christmas coming, we must all remember our troops who are serving for us overseas and won't be able to be with their families this year.

I remember how hard that was for me back in 1984, when I was a young mother.  Our oldest son turned one in October, and that same month, my husband--a Navy fighter pilot--left for a four-month cruise.  (We were actually more fortunate than most Navy families; his squadron joined in when the cruise was already underway, or it would have been six months.)

After he left, I made a point of showing my boy pictures of his daddy every day, so that when he returned he wouldn't seem like a total stranger.  (If only we'd had Skype!)  It got to the point where my son was picking him out of every snapshot.

One day, my little man went into the room where I kept the photos, and I followed him to see what he was up to.  When I got there, I found him holding a wallet-sized picture of his dad, and softly saying, "Daddy."  I ran as fast as I could to get my camera and capture the image for posterity.  I assure you, this was not a staged event.  My son really was just standing there, in his cloth diaper and plastic pants, carefully holding that picture with his chubby little hands and staring at it.
That Christmas, about seven months pregnant with son #2, I traveled with my firstborn from Florida to Upstate NY to spend the Christmas holidays with family...but my poor husband spent them on a Naval aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean.  And boy, did he ever miss this little guy!

Skype is great and everything; I know it helped the boy in this picture in 2008, when he spent Christmas in Iraq, and again in 2011, when his twin daughters were born, and he couldn't be there to welcome them into the world because he was on deployment in Afghanistan.  But Skype-ing is just not the same as being with your loved ones and holding them close, and I know there will be a lot of hurting soldiers, sailors, and pilots this Christmas.

So God bless them, every one.
I love this photo (found on-line), because it shows the indomitable spirit of our American soldiers.
They celebrate Christmas, even when they're serving in war zones. 

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