Today is Christmas Eve, the day before our savior’s birth. On Christmas Day families come together to share the celebration of Christmas. Many people will not even express the word “Christmas” because they wish to be ‘politically correct’ with happy holidays. To that, I truly say, ‘bah humbug!’
Why do we worry about being politically correct? After all, it IS CHRISTMAS DAY! For many of us, someone will be missing from the Christmas dinner table. Thousands of our Armed Forces are still overseas in war zones, fighting for our freedom while celebrating the holiday with buddies and friendships they have developed while away. As the proud wife of a Vietnam Veteran, I can so relate to how difficult it is to have a loved one in a combat zone at Christmas. War does not take a holiday. On the Christmas during Vietnam, my husband of only four months was in Dong Tam, Vietnam. He shared the day fighting a battle, then having dinner with his weapon nearby — in the event another attack occurred. I shared the holiday with my family. Tears spilling down into my dinner plate because I was so alone. We did not have Skype, or cell phones, to share the holiday and the only way my husband could attempt to phone me was through a Mars station that rarely worked. Christmas for that year was such a depressing day.
For all of our Armed Forces, I hope you and your family will be able to share the holiday, if only via Skype or internet conversations. No, it isn’t the same as sitting at the dinner table sharing a delicious holiday meal, but during this dreadful time, it is the next best thing. Focus on the love you share. The tender moments and words of love expressed via the Internet or cell phones and be thankful that these days will pass. My wish for 2012 is peace. As the wife of a veteran, I certainly do not see an end to war, but I do support what our armed forces are doing overseas and I am proud and thankful that America is supporting your bravery. Each time I see a soldier in a military uniform, I take a moment to shake their hand, or to express a ‘thank you’ to them. No, it isn’t easy being away from your loved ones at Christmas time, and when the loved one returns, sometimes the war is still locked away inside the emotional side of the veteran. For years I have said a part of my husband never returned from Vietnam. His gentle, trusting side is still over there, due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the nightmares and horrors only he saw. I cannot relate to what he experienced, but when a nightmare returns, I can hold him and let him know I still love him. I cannot understand what happened, but as his wife, I can certainly reassure him that he is home now, safe and loved.
To the families of those who are still over in war zones in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations, my wish for you is a Merry Christmas. Focus on your love and try not to feel sad that your loved one is away. Be thankful that America is not a hostile nation now, like it was during Vietnam. Make certain you reassure your loved one that you still love him, or her, and you are still at home — waiting for their return.
Merry Christmas to all of you. Remember the good times. The laughter. The love. Those special moments, and when your loved one returns, why not have a surprising, happy celebration. Perhaps you could decorate with colorful lights, gift wrapped packages, a special dinner, all in celebration that your soldier is returning home. My wish to all is a Merry Christmas and a safe, happy 2012.