My mother was the editor for an online forum (www.bellaonline.com) for awhile. One of the many wonderful and interesting accomplishments she has made over the past 60 years.
She wrote the piece below for Christmas 2007. I remember her calling both my sister and me on the phone to try it out on us. Of course, we cried as she read it to us.
Who would have known - and now I am crying again - that this would actually become a tribute to her son-in-law Jack and grandson John a short 12 months later?
Christmas Tribute to the Military
Author - Pam Cartwright
Christmas in the Great Lakes states is probably much like Christmas in other areas of the U.S. We don't have enough time or money to do everything we wish we could. We eat too much, spend too much, sleep too little and exercise only by walking into or out of the mall.
Our intentions are good. We buy special gifts for everyone we can think of. We make huge efforts to get just the right gifts..
Uncle Frank is so hard to buy for. Did I get that scarf for him?
Sue really loves tea. Will she like the tea set I bought her?
I have a doctor's appointment on Monday. Should I get something for the nurse at Dr. Johnson's office?
But, sometimes a gift has nothing to do with buying. It's a kind word or a lift to the grocery or a phone call to a far-away friend.
The other day as I was walking into our local supercenter I saw a person dressed in military clothing. You know the kind of outfit I'm talking about. We got used to it with Desert Storm – that desert fighting apparel. I was in awe, as I always am, when face-to-face with someone in the military. The person noticed me staring and shouted hello, so I returned the greeting. It got me to thinking about Christmas in the military. Today, I wrote this poem to thank the men and women who keep our country safe.
You are in my thoughts and prayers today as Christmas Eve draws near
I praise you for your sacrifice to protect what we hold dear
Your thoughts here at Christmastime, I hope are filled with trust
That you will soon be home again where you belong - with us
Each time I see a person clothed in military dress
I silently pray that they return whole and without stress
I give them my biggest smile and hope they understand
That I am thanking them right there in the only way I can
I do not know the harms you face, my information lacks
The knowledge of the place you go when you get summoned back
I share your love of country even if I do not go
You honor me by serving when you may not wish it so
As you read this ode to faith and hope and trust and love, I pray
That it will bring you peace and strength to make it through the day
Remember why we celebrate, remember that we care
Even in the midst of night when no one else is there
As you stand your vigils in the dark and your thoughts wander far
And your greatest wish - to be home - is wished upon a star
Please take my tribute to you and keep it in your heart
I only say what many feel while we are far apart
I hope the loneliness you have is one that you believe
Will make the world a better place each future Christmas Eve
Yes, she's amazing. I am so blessed to be her daughter. She's on my top friends list if you would like to drop her a line.
If you know someone in the service and would like to, please pass my mother's tribute along to them. She would be honored if you share this gift.