We went to the Christmas Eve service at Santa Cruz Bible last night. The service was really good. We even had some outstanding, traditional, a capella numbers from the choir. They did a great job.
Through most of the service I couldn’t help but think about the fact that there are some 200,000 military service members who will not be home for Christmas this year. Most of them are helping other countries, Iraqi and Afganistan and others, get to a place where the people there also have the freedoms that we take for granted.
At some point on Christmas day almost all of those 200,000 will stand a watch, work a shift, pull guard duty, or go out on a patrol. They will have to work to remember that it is a special day, different from other days. And there will also be a moment or two when each of those service members will remember painfully that it is a special day. It is a special day that they will not be able to enjoy. Some will cry a few tears, some will get angry, some will tell jokes. And then will come the hero part. They will shake it off and carry on with their duties.
In the time I served in OIF, I was struck by the dedication and focus of the military service members I met and got to know. Each one had a reason that they would rather be back home. A fiance, a new born child, an aging parent. Each one put their personal wants and wishes aside to do the job that they had signed up for. It’s a damn tough job.
To the men and women currently on duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Merry Christmas. And thanks.