My grandfather fought in World War II. He is an amazing man. He was drafted at the age of twenty-five and spent two years in the South Pacific. In fact, in 1944, he fought on one of the bloodiest battlefronts of that war – Peleliu. During a battle, he picked up a Japanese rifle and has kept it as a reminder of his time there. It was originally given to my father and just recently received by my middle son. This rifle means more than just a souvenir. The rifle represents the battle Americans helped wage in World War II. It represents my grandfather who spent his time fighting for his country. It represents the sacrifice soldiers make defending our freedom, and it represents the violent realities that soldiers face even today. If only that rifle could talk – I can’t even begin to imagine the tales it would tell.
My grandfather has always had a quiet dignity about him in his life. He never spoke much about his time in the service. I wish now that I had taken the time to ask more questions and record his answers. Dementia is taking his mind at the age of 97, but not his dignity.
I remember my grandmother telling stories about raising her two sons while her husband was away, not knowing if or when he’d return. American families stationed throughout the world experience this same reality today. Their sacrifice is equal to the soldier. This must be especially poignant during the holiday season. It’s hard to celebrate knowing your family member is in harm’s way, and yet, our freedom to celebrate comes from the fact these brave men and women undertake these missions and fight for that freedom.
How can we help this holiday season? My family and I have always donated to the military care packages held through our church or through local sponsors. It feels good to know we can contribute a little happiness to a soldier far away.Cheerios is starting a campaign to send notes of encouragement to the soldiers through the Cheerios sendCheer campaign. Look for specially marked packages in stores. All you have to do is cut out the provided post card, write a message, add postage and send it in. The USO will ensure your thoughts and well-wishes get to our soldiers. I happen to think this is a great idea! Sometimes we just don’t know how to help – this is an easy way to get started and to include our children.
A Twitter party is being hosted to help support this campaign. If you would like to join in, RSVP at this link.As we begin to make preparations for celebrating Christ’s birth with our families, let’s not forget those that are local and abroad wearing America’s uniform proudly and protecting our rights. May God bless each and every one of them!
*** This post has been compensated as part of a sponsored charitable opportunity for Collective Bias.