Skip to comments.This Christmas Eve, remember America's winter soldiers
Posted on 12/24/2017 5:28:01 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
As your family sits down to enjoy a meal together this Christmas, spare a thought or prayer for families who have an empty seat at their table where a brave son, daughter, husband, or wife would sit if they were not serving overseas in the military.
Because America enjoys relative peace this Christmas, its easy to forget that we are still a country at war. Our troops abroad and their families at home dont have the same sense of calm that Bethlehem had on a starry night two millennia ago.
More than 215,000 American military personnel are stationed overseas. About 22,000 are in danger in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, working to eradicate terrorism, the Taliban, and the Islamic State. Another 68,000 are in Japan or South Korea, within easy striking distance of North Korea's armaments should the tyrant, Kim Jong Un, have a temper tantrum.
Hundreds of thousands of others are stationed inside the U.S., and many cant make it home for Christmas, while others could be called away at a moments notice. Even U.S. Cyber Command staff will work on Christmas to make sure your new electronic gadgets are protected from digital threats.
While we sit by the fire and open presents with our families, Christmas is just another day on duty for many soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. As one Pentagon official wrote, using the Navy as an example: Sailors are performing missions that cannot stop for the holidays. Christmas is just another day for sailors manning their posts aboard submarines with nuclear weapons. Sailors launching aircraft from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Persian Gulf may have time for Christmas services. (Not that this means our military doesnt have any Christmas fun For more than 60 years, NORAD has had the important task of tracking Santa.)
American servicemen and women choose to serve, and they dont ask for special thanks or privileges in return. In The Soldier's Night Before Christmas, a soldier abroad and alone tells a tearful Santa Claus:
Dont cry, this life is my choice; I fight for freedom, I dont ask for more, my life is my God, my country, my Corps.
That only makes them all the more worthy of our gratitude.
We should give a special thanks to those who give up a normal Christmas to defend our nation and our First Amendment right to celebrate Christmas and every other religious holiday. We can make sure troops have the equipment and support they need to defend themselves and us, and to stay out of harms way, and ensure that when troops come home they have high-quality healthcare and job prospects or an education waiting for them.
It's pleasant to wish that American troops could be whisked home every Christmas for 48 hours, but military service during the holidays has been a tradition since the dawn of America as an independent nation. The precedent, like so many other good ones, was set by Gen. George Washington, who crossed the Delaware River with his troops on Christmas night 1776, en route to a crucial surprise attack in the Revolutionary War.
As Thomas Paine wrote two days before that, on Dec. 23, 1776, These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Also remember those who work covertly. Many of them are also overseas and away from their families. Their families often don’t have the same support networks uniformed soldiers do. They hold down the fort at home.
American Expeditionary Force to Siberia, 1918-1920
BET YOU PROBALY DIDN'T KNOW OF THEM.
>> its easy to forget that we are still a country at war<<
Maybe because Congress never declared/approved this decades long war?
Prayers for the soldiers though
Fighting an enemy, that for sport, would bomb a Christmas festival or Christmas Mass...
About 22,000 are in danger in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, working to eradicate terrorism, the Taliban, and the Islamic State.
“About 22,000 are in danger in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, working to eradicate terrorism, the Taliban, and the Islamic State.”....
Having “been there”, there are NUMEROUS other military personnel in places around the world you will never hear or know about. Like I stated, “been there, done that”. Prayers for every one of them!!!!!
Some things never change.
24 December 1776
Gen. Washington required this be read to all the men on the 24th.
On Christmas, they crossed the Delaware.
“Victory or Death”, the password.
“March on, my brave fellows, after me!” G W
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God...
...There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both...
The Hessian forces lost 22 killed in action, 83 wounded, and 896 capturedincluding the wounded. The Americans suffered only two deaths from bare feet causing frostbite and five wounded from battle, including a near-fatal wound to future president James Monroe. Other losses incurred by the Patriots due to exhaustion, exposure, and illness in the following days may have raised their losses above those of the Hessians.
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