This year I’m thankful for a lot of things. It’s been an eventful and exciting year. At the top of the list, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to serve my country in an endeavour to free the Iraqi people from tyrannical dictator who was a threat to world peace. There have been many ramifications of my service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Probably at the top of the list is a renewed appreciation for my wife and our children. I am thankful to be married now 16 years to my wife. As I tell her often, she’s awesome. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be the father of two wonderful kids. I am a bit sad to realize that phase of my life will soon be nearing an end. I really enjoy being a father. My sadness is mitigated by my anticipation at being a grandfather. I’m looking forward to that though it is a ways off yet. Life, at least for me, is about family, friends and community.

I love the holiday season. I love listening to Bing Crosby singing all the Christmas songs I grew up listening to. I like watching White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. I love waxing nostalgic about the holidays of my youth and the tales my grandfather used to tell about Christmas and winter in Minnesota. I am sadden at what this society has turned the holiday season into. A barrage of advertising and marketing in which the spirit of the holidays has been removed and we are left with only the emotional shell. No one utters the holiday greeting of Merry Christmas anymore save the cashiers in stores who have been ordered to do so. Some of them are surprised when I answer back with sincerity in my voice. Nonetheless, I love the holiday season. I’m always glad to see it come and sorry to have it end. So let me be the first to say…

Melekalikimaka, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone. If you know a family with a service member overseas this year, do something special for them.


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