During this holiday season we will see many news stories about our troops serving overseas. The stories will focus mainly on those serving in the war areas in Iraq and a bit of Afghanistan.
The men and women serving there will have to undergo separation from friends and family during a time our country showcases its values on family gatherings. We can't forget to salute these heroes, no matter what our feelings are for the war.
Letters, packages and notes will brighten up some of the darkest days our troops may experience. But also don't forget those thousands in the military who are serving in places we don't think about.
There are many bases overseas, around the world that exist to keep the peace whether we are at war or not. Many in our military serve at these locations year in and year out. There are small island bases in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, bases in Germany, Austria, Iceland and Great Britain and many others. There are isolated spots in Canada, Alaska and other spots in the United States as well.
Many of these are manned by young kids who are just out of high school and serving their first terms of enlistment. Quite a few have not yet married and do not have family on base with them. Some of these bases have limited housing anyway so those who are serving have to leave loved ones behind just like those serving in the war.
While these soldiers, sailors and airmen may not be in as much danger as those in the war zones, holiday loneliness can be just as acute. Only some will be able to take leave to get home to see their families. Bases need to be staffed no matter what day it is.
The military does a lot to help ease the pain of separation during the holidays for those serving. Modern technology has also helped. Cell phones, the Internet and e-mails have made staying connected to family a lot easier these days.
But in the end it is the personal note and package from home that can make the difference in just another day or one that is special. If you know of a family that has a family member in the service that is not serving in the war zones, see if they would like you to join in an send them something to say thanks for being there for us. Every member of our armed forces are doing a service for our country.
They get paid a smidgen of what they are worth to our country. From the payroll clerks and the cooks; the deck hands and submarine hunters; the mechanics and the pilots; the tank operators and the foot soldiers we need to say thanks for all you do.