Let me be amongst the first to offer my best wishes to you for a safe, happy, healthy, and above all Merry Christmas. As our great nation prepares to pause and commemorate a joyous event that occurred well over 2,000 years ago, let me share some thoughts about Christmases past, present and future.
These thoughts will be tinged with nostalgia and viewed through the rose-colored glasses that many among us use to look back at what we see as better times. I can recall the loneliness of two Christmases devoted to serving our nation. The first was spent in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the second in the Philippine Islands. I can also recall the joy of returning home from Vietnam in time to spend Christmas at home in 1969. A number of my high school buddies left for the same war, never to return home. I was truly blessed that year.
Once again, our great nation is in the midst of a war. Unlike any other conflict since the War of 1812, this current confrontation has been brought to our very shores, by foreign invaders. Ignorant people have attacked our nation. They are ignorant in that they do not understand who we are as a nation. These are people who choke on the bile of jealousy and hatred. They know not who we are, nor do they choose to understand what we stand for. For them it is "their way or the highway." Not bloody likely mate. Not for me anyway.
Fighting this war on terror is going to be much like battling cancer. Something evil is at work. The symptoms are there, but many times, you do not see them until it is too late. Many times the cure is difficult, long, and uncertain. Yet, we move on, hoping for the best, trusting in the Lord. Sometimes there are sacrifices. We pause, mourn our dead, and then move on.
This is not the first time that our nation has crossed swords with an enemy. Ours is a nation forged in the fires of war. We had to battle for our freedom. We have had to battle to maintain our freedom on many different occasions. In every case, people were torn away from their families and sent to battle the forces of evil. Many Christmases have been sacrificed on the Altar of Freedom, but we consider that to be a small price to pay for all that we are privileged to enjoy in this land of the free and home of the brave.
As many of you history buffs probably know, one of the great surprise attacks of the Revolutionary War came on this very holiday. The World Book tells us that,