As South Carolina’s civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, I would like to extend my gratitude to all the members of the military who serve our state and nation to secure our liberty.
As we gather to celebrate the holidays and enjoy the warmth of family and friends, I hope we can all pause to consider what is perhaps our greatest Christmas gift: the gift of freedom. Let us keep close in our thoughts and prayers the men and women who have given us that gift and continue to defend and protect it every day.
We are blessed to know that for the first time since 9/11, not a single member of the S.C. National Guard is deployed overseas. For many spouses and children, there can be no better gift than to be reunited with their loved one who voluntarily braved danger and hardship to defend the freedoms we enjoy.
But let us remember our service members who are deployed overseas. For many, these are lonely and difficult days, far from their family and comforts of home. What goes on in the Middle East is of keen interest to South Carolina, given the significant number of airmen from Shaw and Charleston Air Force bases, soldiers from Shaw’s Army Central and Marines from the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station who are deployed overseas.
These are young people who have chosen service over self. They inspire us all by their willingness to put our safety, our security and our well-being first. It is humbling to know that there are others who will put their lives on the line for people they don’t even know.
Let’s all give thanks this season and throughout the coming year for the members of our military. Not only do they risk their lives daily, but they have sacrificed precious time away from their families so we can enjoy our freedoms.
Let us give thanks as well to their families, who share the burdens of the long struggles to protect our way of life. Pray for all the spouses who have been doing the parenting of two while one stands guard for all of us, and remember the children who wait anxiously for mother’s or father’s return.
Let’s be proud, grateful and thankful for all our service members. Let us all admire their dedication to duty, their selflessness and their courage — as well as the ultimate sacrifice some have made for us.
Pray that our service members have comfort and joy and a little peace on earth during this holiday season.
S.C. Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army