It’s the time of year when many of you are home with your families and friends. On Christmas morning, you may have a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate. Or perhaps you’re getting your morning started like my family does; enjoying mimosas that are heavier on the champagne than they are on the orange juice. (What can I say? We’re Irish.)
You’re getting ready to open presents, and you can’t help but feel a little wonderment building, and an eagerness to see others open the gifts you’ve put under the tree. (I hope you’ve got a GovX gift or two under there! I personally can’t wait for my family to unwrap their True Pints.)
Later, you might enjoy a huge dinner, and you’ll look around the table and be grateful for the company you keep in your life. It’s Christmas, and there’s a little holiday electricity in the air.
The trash can is stuffed with turkey or roast beef bones, or portions of gravy-laden mashed potatoes you were too full to finish, or untouched green beans your son or daughter decided not to eat. This all gets piled onto discarded wrapping paper, and you take it out before you go to bed.
Another Christmas come and gone.
But on the other side of the world, there’s a sailor stationed in Yokusaka, Japan. He’s aboard the USS Antietam or Blue Ridge or McCampbell, or one of the many ships of the Seventh Fleet. And he’s standing watch on the bridge. There, it’s the morning of December 26th. He’s wondering how his family and friends are enjoying their day. He misses home, but he knows that his job there is important, even if it’s just staying in port.
Or, there’s a Marine in Iraq. She’s part of a security guard detachment at the US Embassy, and it’s 10 o’clock at night. Her family watches the news and they know she’s in a dangerous country. And despite her repeated assurances that her workplace is at one of the most heavily fortified and protected areas on the planet, they still worry about her. They wish she was home on this day. She does too.
But you don’t have to be halfway around the world to miss out on the Christmas many of us typically enjoy. Consider an engineer at the fire house. He’s watching Die Hard with the rest of the boys in the common room—they do it every year—but then the call goes out and it’s time to gear up and get to work.
Remember the men and women out there doing their jobs on this day. Some of them may get to be home with their families and friends, but many of them might not. Last month, I joined a few of my coworkers at MCAS Miramar, where we served a Thanksgiving meal to the Marines who weren’t heading home to be with their families that day. We stood behind the trays and talked to them as they heaped their plates high with homemade food. Their hometowns were all over the country. Iowa. Michigan. Many folks from Texas. It reminded us that a person’s service can take them far away from home, even on holidays when it’s traditional to return.
We have plenty to be thankful for on this Christmas: Our friends, our family, maybe even some of the gifts we receive today, or the smiles on the faces of the people whom we give gifts of our own.
My coworkers and I on the GovX staff want to also thank the men and women who may not be home this day. Wherever you are, we hope you stay safe, and that you come home soon.
Merry Christmas, from all of us.