Time to re­mem­ber troops away from home

The Catoosa County News - - EDITORIALS & OPINION - COLUM­NIST I DON MCKEE

This is a time to re­mem­ber our troops who are away from home and fam­ily for the hol­i­days. As Christ­mas ap­proaches, many fam­i­lies will be sep­a­rated by mil­i­tary de­ploy­ments to dis­tant posts in the ro­ta­tion of forces, such as the Army’s an­nounce­ment that this win­ter el­e­ments of the 4th In­fantry and 10th Moun­tain di­vi­sions would be sent to Afghanistan and a 1st Ar­mored Divi­sion bri­gade com­bat team as­signed to Ko­rea.

“We are not strangers to op­er­a­tions in Afghanistan as proven through our ex­ten­sive de­ploy­ment his­tory,” said Col. Paul Lar­son, 2nd Bri­gade Com­bat Team com­man­der. That’s the story of one mil­i­tary unit af­ter an­other – re­peated de­ploy­ments to Afghanistan and other dan­ger­ous places.

There’s good news for other troops, thanks to ro­ta­tion of forces. Re­cently 61 sol­diers of the Ge­or­gia Na­tional Guard re­turned from a 10-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, while an­other 60 mem­bers of the 1st Bat­tal­ion, 169th Gen­eral Sup­port Avi­a­tion Bat­tal­ion from Alabama also headed home. This hol­i­day sea­son is a mile­stone for the Ge­or­gia Na­tional Guard — mark­ing the first time since No­vem­ber 2001 af­ter the ter­ror­ist at­tacks of 9/11 that they have not been de­ployed. Units of the Guard spent the hol­i­days away from home in 2005 and 2010.

It was ex­pected by the troops that their de­ploy­ment would con­tinue through Jan­uary 2019, said Capt. Ben Hud­son, se­nior of­fi­cer of the Ge­or­gia com­pany. He ex­pressed the feel­ings of his troops on get­ting to come home. “It meant ev­ery­thing for me, my sol­diers and their fam­i­lies that we come home for Christ­mas,” Hud­son said.

Many of the troops sent to the U.S.-MEX­i­can bor­der by Pres­i­dent Trump to en­force se­cu­rity also will get back to their home bases for Christ­mas. A re­de­ploy­ment from Texas and Ari­zona brought 3,000 of the troops back home, leav­ing only the forces needed to pro­vide sup­port.

As for be­ing in a for­eign coun­try dur­ing the sea­son, A Mil­i­tary Spouse of­fers this per­spec­tive on up­liftin­gan­chor.com from her ex­pe­ri­ence spend­ing Christ­mas in Mo­rocco. She writes about the im­por­tant things:

“My les­sons to re­mem­ber are as fol­lows:

“You do not need to over­spend. Sim­ple fun is fun enough.

“Fam­ily time is the most im­por­tant gift we can give. Giv­ing my full at­ten­tion and not a stressed out mom-mon­ster makes a big dif­fer­ence.

“If you can­not do ev­ery merry lit­tle thing it doesn’t mat­ter. No one loses by cut­ting back, we all gain more.

“Lean into the hol­i­day sea­sonal mer­ri­ment when you can! Em­brace wher­ever we are and just en­joy be­ing to­geth er. This was es­pe­cially true dur­ing our time over­seas.

“Dec­o­ra­tions are fun, but they are not nec­es­sary. You can make your own. I never packed too many or­na­ments or trim­mings be­cause we needed to keep our house­hold goods weight low. In turn, we spend a lot of time mak­ing fun things.

“Share your home and your time with those that need it most this Christ­mas.

“Use it as a time to trim back. I had to purge be­fore the move, and in Mo­rocco I se­lected the week af­ter Thanks­giv­ing to go through my daugh­ter’s toys. She had to select three items to give to chil­dren in need. I also went through her cloth­ing. It felt like a great sea­son to do this ex­er­cise in sim­pli­fy­ing!

“I’m more ex­cited than ever about the up­com­ing hol­i­day, and ap­ply­ing an easy, re­laxed vibe to be­ing to­gether and do­ing what we can to cel­e­brate. Each day we are to­gether mak­ing new mem­o­ries is a true gift.”

And fi­nally, I like this per­spec­tive from Dr. Seuss: “Christ­mas will al­ways be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.”

Merry Christ­mas.

Con­tact Don Mckee at [email protected]

Mckee

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