Time to remember troops away from home
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.”
Contact Don Mckee at [email protected]