These days, only those of us who have family members currently serving in the military, or veterans who remember being overseas serving the country during the holidays, in peace time or in war, realize, or ever think about the troops who are still serving in harms way all around the world. But they are there, protecting us and our freedoms from those who mean us harm.
This Christmas, soldiers, sailors, airmen Coast Guardsmen, and Marines are serving here at home and on almost every continent. They are away from their families at this special time of the year that is so family oriented. So many of them are serving in currently active war zones, or areas that are dangerous for many other reasons.
What we must remember is that the very core of what they do is the noble idea of “service.” This is a truth that we need to keep before the nation. These men and women do what they do willingly. They’re willing sacrifice their comfort and safety so that we may enjoy those things here at home. They do what they do for the sake of others. They consciously serve for the greater good of others.
Those “others” are their brothers and sisters who are with them on those lines, their families, and their countrymen back home. They also do it for those that they are helping to defend themselves from those who threaten their very lives.
They stand on the front lines, in the cold environs of places like Korea and Afghanistan, in the heat of the deserts and tropical climes of Africa. They stand guard on ships above and below the surface of the world’s oceans around the world, or bringing the first response capabilities of the American Navy to aid those who are threatened by natural disasters.
They stand watch on Coast Guard Cutters preventing the continuing threats of the drug cartels to bring their foul products into the country, or on icebreakers, helping to open lanes in the Antarctic ice to bring supplies to the scientists and others who live and work there, who would not be able to survive in those harsh conditions without those supplies.
As Americans, we owe these men and women our gratitude and our never-ending respect. For those who are serving away from home during this holiday season we want you to know that we remember you. Your families remember you and pray for your safe return. We veterans never forget you, we know you as our brothers and sisters-in-arms. We, too, have you all in our thoughts and in our prayers now, and throughout the rest of the year. We pray that you will be safe and that you will be able to come home to your families soon.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.