To my brothers and sisters,
Merry Christmas wherever you are today. If you were fortunate enough to get some leave and you’re reading this at home, then please enjoy the day with your family. You most definitely deserve it.
If you’re not with your family today, you have my deepest thanks. Spending the holidays away from your loved ones isn’t easy. A phone call isn’t the same as a hug. A package isn’t the same as unwrapping a gift next to the tree. And the food at your dining facility certainly isn’t the same as a meal at your dining room table. Sadly, this is the job and I’m very proud of all of you for doing it.
My first Christmas away from home was with the Army. It was the late 90s and I was in Korea. I actually had guard duty (CQ) and when 7am rolled around I was already tired. The USO was hosting a breakfast and I happened to be the first one through the door, with many of my fellow soldiers choosing to sleep in. I sat in that hall and just reflected on the moment. It was a very different kind of Christmas for me.
There were several others but many of them had the same kind of feeling.
Know that you are loved back home in your communities and you’ll get the hero’s welcome you deserve when you get home. Also know that your mission is among the most noble there is. It doesn’t matter if you’re from here in Orlando or New York, Los Angeles or Texas, it’s about the work you do together that protects our freedom here in the United States.
Merry Christmas and we’ll see you soon,