Christmas in the Military

Posted on December 13, 2010

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Almost one half or more Christmases spent by a military person is done so with only their comrades around. Whether you are off to war or just assigned overseas, you will almost always spend the holidays thinking of family. It is a lonely time even though your comrades are there. They are your second family but there are no little faces around showing the true meaning of Christmas. These are Christmases lost.

From the time Carol and I got married until I retired from the Army, we tried to entertain at least one trooper who was far away from their family. Usually we would have a dinner where many troopers would come. There are two Christmases I remember most. Both happened over in Germany. In 1979, Carol, Jason and I arrived in German in October. We finally found a place of our own in November. When Carol left the States for Germany she had some of our stuff put in storage and some of it put in Hold Baggage. Now Hold Baggage is sent to the country you are assigned to but put in a Holding Area waiting for your request. In the Hold baggage was Jason’s Christmas presents. One week before Christmas we still did not have our Hold Baggage. They kepttelling us that it hadn’t arrived in Germany yet. We were just about broke but we bought a few things for Jason but it was small. Two days before Christmas I called again and I was told, “It is here. It has been here it was just misplaced”. I asked the First Sergeant if I could have a driver and a truck to drive to the Holding Area and pick the stuff up and he said sure. SP/4 John McCoy and I drove for 2 1/2 hours to pick up the Hold Baggage. Then we drove 2 1/2 hours to get back. Because John was good enough to drive me to pick the stuff up, Jason had a very good Christmas.

The next Christmas, 1980, Carol and I asked John to be our guest for Christmas. He came over to spend the night (Christmas Eve) with us. Jason was excited because he and John got along real good. John laid on the floor and played with Jason for hours that night. After Jason went to sleep the three of us put Jason’s Christmas together. When we woke up the next morning, John was as excited as Jason was as Jason opened up his gifts. John’s biggest surprise was when we handed him his gift. Our gift was seeing John’s face that morning. That afternoon we had a big dinner. We invited our German friends (Wolfgang, Helga and Oliver) as well as another couple (Garry and Rachel Moore) and who could not go home and had no children. After dinner everyone got on the floor and played with Jason and his toys.

Christmas was not the only holidays we celebrated with other troopers. Carol and I got married in 1970. Beginning that year we always had either guest come and spend the night during the holidays or have big dinners where we had 20 or more guest that could not go home. We did this state side as well as overseas. I am more tha sure we are not the only ones that have done this and continue to do it today.

The moral here is reach out and help someone. Sometimes the smallest thing you do for someone is the biggest thing that has happened to them for a long time.

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Posted in: Special Memories