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Merry Christmas to all of our troops

December 22, 2010 - Michael Palmer
The United States has over 200,000 troops stationed in 144 countries and territories. At any given time, it usually has another 20,000 sailors and Marines deployed afloat on Navy ships.

My nephew was deployed in Iraq last year during the holidays and we had the opportunity to spend Christmas with my great niece and nephew while he was overseas.

Thankfully this year he is home for Christmas, but so many more families will be spending this holiday apart from their loved ones.

Thousands of those troops deployed overseas away from their families this Christmas can at least look forward to USO entertainment and special holiday meals.

This year the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USO Tour was at Camp Liberty, Iraq, with comedian Robin Williams, country songwriter Kicks Brooks, and inspirational athlete Lance Armstrong, among others. These famous entertainers and others in the USO willingly give up their own holidays with their families in order to bring some cheer to our troops overseas.

Meanwhile dining facilities overseas have been preparing to serve more than 140,000 troops holiday fare that includes 244,000 pounds of turkey, 112,000 pounds of beef, 8,600 cans of sweet potatoes, and 47,000 cakes and pies sent by the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support activity.

In addition there are many organizations here that send special greetings and care packages to the troops overseas. I know my nephew was very happy to receive many anonymous cards and a treat of home baked cookies while he was on his tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our Christmas here in the US may not be what we had planned or hoped for with the economy and gas prices eating into our already stretched budgets this holiday, however we should be thankful that we can spend this Christmas with our loved ones.

My son will not be making the trip back home this year, but he has a really nice family to spend the holiday with and will be sharing the joy of the season with them.

As we gather with our families and friends and observe this holiest of holidays, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago, let us include in our prayers all of those who will be home for Christmas only in their dreams.

So, to those servicemen and to all of you. Merry Christmas.


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