We want to send Christmas greetings to our families, friends, and supporters. I think that we, like all service members, agree that the most trying aspect of deployment is separation from our loved ones. Christmas is the day when this sentiment is felt most strongly.
The length and closeness of existence during deployment practically forces a unit to become family. My friends who left the service long ago often remark that the camaraderie is the one element of military life that is hardest to replicate in civilian life, and that which they missed the most about their time in service. So it is with us. This year we will be spending Christmas with this family, even while never forgetting our own.
My gift to readers of this blog is music. Bing Crosby recorded some of the most famous renditions of the Christmas classics. He was also known for his support of troops in the European Theater during World War II. In fact, in one poll, he was voted by those troops to have done more for GI morale than any other figure, including President Roosevelt, General Eisenhower, and Bob Hope. The version of Silent Night that plays on my IPOD was recorded by him at the end of World War II for radio broadcast to the GIs around the world. It has added meaning for us this year. It begins with a few words,
"This is a happy Christmas all right. A great Christmas. Next year, pray God, all of you will be sitting at your own fireplaces and around your own trees. This song that means so much to all of us."
It ends with bells, about which he says,
"The bells of Christmas 1945 ring out clear and free around the world to you. Their message comes from the hearts of one hundred and thirty-two million grateful Americans: 'Peace on earth. Goodwill toward men.'"
Here is Bing Crosby singing Silent Night as we wish for peace on earth amidst the grimness of war.
Here is also his version of I'll Be Home For Christmas which I extend to our loved ones.
May you have a blessed Christmas and holiday season.