Military Christmas

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Wisconsin –-(  Another Christmas with our Nation still at war.

Yes I know we are out of Iraq but I see no end to Afghanistan.

Even in peace time there are always thousands of US military members who are not spending Christmas at home.

The deployment of Sailors and Marines serving on board ships at sea never ends. All branches of the armed services have military bases outside the United States that are manned even when there is no war. But there is a war this Christmas and Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers are again protecting this country by going in harms way.

Please enjoy your Christmas holiday this year but never forget the men and women who are “out there” defending and protecting our way of life. Merry Christmas and may God bless our American fighting troops. We live very well in this wonderful country because of the men and women who volunteer to defend us.

It is however sad that on the eve of another military Christmas our government has voted to take very hard earned money away from our retired military members and even worst our disabled veterans.

I have never seen the movie the Grinch who stole Christmas but I am getting a pretty good idea who and what the Grinch story is all about.


Dad was in the Navy, during Christmas we were seldom back home.
We spent our holidays in different states, sometimes rather alone.
We spent Christmas over seas in a number of foreign lands.
Christmas was never conducted according to a civilian plan.

No going over to Grandma's house, to eat a Christmas meal.
In 20 years we got there twice, that was a major deal.
We would drive a thousand miles, to be there Christmas Eve.
Days later it was time to go, dad was out of military leave.

We would drive all night to get back, to the Naval base.
This ended yet another, cross-country Christmas race.
Finish our favorite holiday food, crackers with cheese dip,
Dad would drive out to the pier, to sign back-in to the ship.

We all loved going onboard ship for a holiday meal.
My sisters ate all the shrimp that they could peel.
I would talk to the mess-cooks standing in the chow line.
Dependent meals on shipboard were always a magical time.

During my Air Force career I got home for Christmas only a time or two,
But my Air Force spouse made a holiday of white, not of Elvis blue.
Christmas dinner was with our GI friends, who could not get “home,”
Sometimes over twenty, no one was left alone.

G.I. s and Sailors are your family when stationed far from home.
In my day no e-mail and in most cases you couldn't even phone.
Christmas cards went early, because of the long homeward flight.
Anyone's holiday mail was a G.I. shared delight.

Cards, pictures and cookies enjoyed with a Marine cohort.
Moments later defending the line; Christmas can be rather short.
War doesn't stop for the troops because of a national holiday.
Even on the 25th someone is earning their combat pay.

I am an old retiree sitting back in my rocking chair.
But my wife is still active duty performing the mission out there.
We are always on the move, from air base to air base,
In my old age, this military stuff, keeps picking up the pace.

We're at a comfortable “state-side” base this winter holiday.
Somewhere a troop is earning, Christmas hazardous-duty pay.
Please take care of “your” Sailor, Marine or G.I. this holiday season.
To appreciate your troops never needs a reason.

We are at an Air Force base, out west this Christmas year.
No grandparents, no siblings, not even my in-laws are here.
It's another military holiday and we are far from “home.”
But I have my wife, my daughter and the dogs–we are not alone.

We choose to be in a military, that on holidays takes us far and wide.
But we serve our nation, maybe even with a little selfish pride.
We are doing something right for this wonderful homeland.
She is a military woman and I am a military man.

Enjoy this holiday season, remember who keeps you safe at home.
Think of the Sailor, Marine or G.I. out there feeling quite alone.
They choose to be there, even on Christmas night.
Support your troops, what they do for this country, is indeed right.

Thanks to veterans who have done military Christmas in the past.
The new troops continue the tradition, to make our freedom last.
Sleep well this Christmas Eve, at home in your warm bed.
To our military, defending the nation, full speed ahead.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
[email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

  • 5 thoughts on “Military Christmas

    1. I knew Maj. Van Harl personally. I worked as an armed gate guard at Altus AFB while the major’s wife was stationed there and he came through the gate all the time. He also ran a weekly newspaper column at the time and could write some very insightful articles. Believe me, this man has seen it all. Darren, remember that the fighting military members are not what bring war to our homes and nation. It is dictators and politicians who promote the military complex so they can bring jobs to their states and districts and then say “see what I have done for you?” President Eisenhower, after his presidency, warned the nation to be aware of this as it will keep us at war continually. Think about it guys, if we were not in a war somewhere all the time industries would be shut down or scaled way back and jobs and profits would be lost, that is why those industries keep lobbyists walking the halls of congress all the time with millions of $$$$ behind them to do the job of keeping the wars going. They don’t think of it that way but that is what it is. God bless our military for what they do. Finally, I had two uncles who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, one in the tank corps and one in the infantry. Both were glad to come out alive and come home after the war. But it marked them for life too. The sacrifice does not stop once the uniform is hung up in the closet my friends.

    2. During the four years I served in the Air Force, I was never able to make it home for the holidays. My MOS required MANY TDYs and I was always attached to another unit to function in support of their mission. But I have to say I never even once felt alone or lonely.
      My brothers and sisters in arms always made me feel like I was with my ” family”. Fact is, it was not as wonderful as being with my true family, but I never regretted serving with some of the best people in the world.

    3. Darren,
      It’s for aholes like you that the American soldier is away from home and loved ones this Christmas (and it’s Christmas not Xmas).

    4. I want the military home for Xmas too. Not because they’re heroes but because they shouldn’t be overseas fighting for the empire that is destroying our rights here at home.

      The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date)
      By Mark Twain

      Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword;
      He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger’s wealth is stored;
      He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
      His lust is marching on.

      I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
      They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
      I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps—
      His night is marching on.

      I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
      “As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath shall deal;
      Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel;
      Lo, Greed is marching on!”

      We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;*
      Greed is seeking out commercial souls before his judgement seat;
      O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet!
      Our god is marching on!

      In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
      With a longing in his bosom—and for others’ goods an itch.
      As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich—
      Our god is marching on.

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