Merry Christmas to All Who Serve, and Especially to Their Families
By Ken K. Gourdin
I ran across this while surfing the ’Net. While it is a U.S. Army site, I recognize the sacrifices made by members of the other branches who are away from their families this holiday season: http://history.army.mil/html/reference/holidays/index.html (last accessed December 13, 2014).
As I have written on the Blog and in other public venues, I come from a proud tradition of military service on both sides of my family. My father was Army MP enlisted for nearly ten years, enlisting a couple of years after the Korean war and doing two tours there – but, he says, “I didn’t join the army to become a soldier; I joined the Army to become a cop”; my maternal grandfather was a member of The Greatest Generation; and my brother did a tour in the Utah National Guard, engaging in that perhaps-oxymoronic Military Occupational Specialty, “military intelligence.”
If physical considerations did not intrude to prevent me from following such a course, I would have been proud to carry on my family’s distinguished multigenerational tradition of service to country and community. While I don’t know whereof I speak from personal experience, I can imagine that no one wishes more for “Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men” than a soldier who’s away from home this time of year – particularly one who’s in a combat zone, and, historically speaking, particularly one who was drafted rather than volunteering.
God Bless Our Troops (along with their families), particularly in this season in which we aspire to “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” I will grant that recent engagements (since World War II) have lacked the moral clarity of that conflict (although it’s worth remembering that isolationism and non-engagement aren’t new ideas: they were espoused even by many people during World War II, particularly before the full extent of Hitler’s atrocities and aggressions was exposed to the appropriately-harsh light of historical examination).
If one disagrees with how our Commander-in-Chief chooses to deploy our military, engage in the political process and in political dialogue; but don’t blame our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, the vast majority of whom are solid citizens and upstanding men and women. As I have written elsewhere, in places such as Washington, DC’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, “debates about the rightness or wrongness of any given conflict fade into insignificance. What matters is that those who sacrificed so much were willing to answer the call of their country. May we ever remember, and never forget.”
Here’s hoping that troops and their families, while they are apart this Christmas season, will, nonetheless, eventually be able to enjoy a reunion such as those chronicled in the video montage linked here: https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/happy-veterans-day/ (last accessed December 13, 2014). Merry Christmas to all who serve, and especially to their families. (And may I broaden my gratitude to include those who serve in non-military domestic protective capacities, as well?) May God bless your families while you are away.