2013-12-13 / Spectrum

Remember those deployed for the holidays

There’s something very special about a welcomehome ceremony during the holidays.

Granted, every service member’s return from deployment, whenever it happens, is a special occasion. But when families get to wrap their arms around their returning Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine just in time for Christmas, the lights on the tree twinkle a little brighter, the carols sound sweeter and the figgy pudding seems, well…figgier.

Such was the case earlier this week when the 67th Expeditionary Signal Battalion welcomed about 60 Soldiers home from overseas service. It was a holiday scene worthy of a Frank Capra movie, and a Christmas gift like no other for those families.

But across the globe, thousands of American families are still waiting.

We are still a nation at war. We still have American service members in harm’s way. And, in our holiday joy, we must not forget that.

Since Christmas 2001, too many troops to count have spent this time of year away from home and hearth. Too many have done it multiple times. Too many are doing it again this year. And too many will do it again next year.

Even during peacetime, holidays away from home are as traditional as the lighted tree in your living room. Unaccompanied service in Korea, peace keeping duty in the Sinai, service aboard ships at sea -- military service offers as many opportunities to “get away for the holidays” as Expedia. It’s a part of the service culture, and it isn’t going to end any time soon.

Thankfully, it did end Tuesday for a very happy group of Signal Soldiers. But there’s always the next deployment. And, as of this writing, more than 400 Fort Gordon service members from units across the installation remain deployed today.

We’re certain that their units are trying to make the holidays as festive as possible for their members, with decorations, holiday feasts and the like. But there’s no place like home for the holidays.

So, as you wrap yet another gift to place under the tree and scan the grocery store for the perfect Christmas goose, remember those far from home. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Remember their families, coping with the absence of their service members. Wrap your collective arms around them, and make sure they know their sacrifice is appreciated. More importantly, make sure their holidays are as happy as they can be.

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