We are approaching that day of great hope and expectation. On the 25th of December we will once again celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Many are the folks who would rather religion not be mentioned in our media.
To them I say, no, I shall not bow to your secular demands. I believe in God and I will write about my Lord as often as He grants me the ability to mention his Holy Name. Should you choose to believe differently, please do for you each have that right to personal privilege. Let me tell you why.
Many of you within the fire service many not be aware of the fact that I am a retired Army Reserve officer in the Corps of Engineers. For more than 26 years I played an extremely small role in the defense of my nation. My friends, over the course of my military career I did what I could to defend the freedoms of our nation, just as my father and grandfather before me had done.
My brother also served our nation during the Vietnam Conflict. There were no trips to Canada for the Carter Family. I served in Alaska, The Philippines, and Vietnam. My brother served in Germany as a member of the U.S. Army Infantry. While I was in the war zone, Bob was playing his part in the winning of the Cold War.
Let me assure you that my brother and I were away from home for a number of holidays. Let me assure you that the statement "Freedom is not free" is more than a mere collection of word my friends. Freedom involves more than speeches by the politicians in Washington, DC.
The people chirping the loudest about our great nation are usually the ones who have done the least to perpetuate our freedoms. It is one thing to stand at a podium in Washington and deliver a litany of platitudes. It is another matter entirely to leave your family and travel to a foreign land, far from your loved ones. I have been in many situations where my life was in danger. The Lord was on my side and I came home safely. Far too many have given their lives so that you and I can live here in the greatest nation on earth.
One of those great freedoms my brother and I sought to defend involves the right to worship in the ways in which we each choose to believe. Each of you has the right to do that thanks to people like the members of the Carter Family and millions of other fine, brave souls, like my buddies Joe Ryan, Mike Coale, and Bill Murnane. So it is in this manner that I shall craft a few words for you about the joy of life, with my words and in my way.
I have written a great deal over the years about the existence of ignorance in our world. While my focus involves the fire service, I would like to say that at this time in history a great part of the world seems to be laboring in the darkness caused by ignorance, hypocrisy, and deceit.
Far too many amongst us seem to weaken, give up and then give in to these forces of evil. They tire of the battle and begin to go along with the flawed programs within which they find themselves. You and I understand life's pressures. Let us find the strength in the coming year to battle the forces which would have us give up and go along with the throngs who march under the banner of the status quo.
My dear friends, this is the perfect time of the year to begin our journey toward the light of knowledge in the world today. Much like those who followed the star to Bethlehem to see the Baby Jesus, we need to begin our journey from the dark places of personal ignorance wherein we reside to the enlightened places where knowledge, sacrifice and dedication to a common cause fill us with joy.
For many the light of joy will be brilliant and bright. For others the light of joy will be more elusive. Based upon many of the emails from you, my kind readers, I have been much pause to ponder the true state of our fire service. We do not all live in the same well-lit pastures of joy.