Friday, December 24, 2010

USS Lexington

Christmas this year has been really very strange for us. Of course, living in an RV has made my normal Christmas decorating impossible. I usually have between 3 and 4 trees, outside and inside lights, wreaths, garlands, electric candles in the windows and a complete set of Christmas dishes in my arsenal of Christmas d├ęcor. However, living in Howard the RV, I have shaved that down to a tiny 28” tree, a few garlands covered with lights and a set of “snow ball”lights hanging outside the RV. But, the lack of decoration isn’t the only thing that has made this Christmas different.We are also in south Texas (Corpus Christi, to be exact) and the weather is something that I am not used to. Being a northerngirl for most of my life, I can’t get over the feeling of celebrating Christmas in shorts at the beach. Not that I am complaining in anyway, shape or form. I love this weather and I have to admit to a certain amount of nasty snickering when I hear of a snow or ice storm hitting one of the other states. I know I should be ashamed of myself, and I probably will be someday, but right now, I’m not. Right now I’m just enjoying the wonderful weather and hoping to see no snow during our entire RV trip.

During our trips to the beaches, we have seen some really amazing things. Today, we decided to visit the U.S.S. Lexington docked along the beach. It is opened for tours and set up as a floating museum. As we walked through I was awed by the amount of room there is on an air craft carrier. We climbed countless stairs, that were more like ladders and toured more levels than I can remember. As the boys walked through the ship and learned about all the things that make a craft like that work, we started to see them pretend to be sailors on the ship. I heard Brendan tell Chase “The Bridge is all clear, Sir” and I saw each of the boys take turns pretending to fire the guns in the turret. Finally, our whole family sat down in the officer’s meeting room around the conference table and demanded that “Captain” David issue orders to replenish the ship’s stock of chocolate. David was all for it, so I’m pretty sure that a requisition form will be filledout immediately.

However, as we went through the ship’s chapel, I was suddenly reminded ofthe men and women that served on these amazing vessels. My brother in law is serving in the Army as a Chaplain and as we looked at the Chaplain’s quarters, the boys were all asking if this was like Uncle Matt’s job. Now, as we finished our tour of the ship, I looked with different eyes at everything around me. What would it have been like to live and work on this ship for those men and women that risked their lives to protect us? What would their Christmas have been like?

This Christmas is a little different for our family, but I can’t imagine what Christmas must be like for those serving in the military during the Christmas holidays. So many of them are so far away from anything that is familiar. They are far, far away from family and friends. Some are facing dangers that most of us could never even begin to imagine. I have to say that I was truly humbled as I walked through this air craft carrier and realized how much these brave men and women were willing to give up just to keep the rest of us safe and comfortable.

What my family is changing this Christmas is minor compared to the changes our military faces when they are stationed overseas for the holidays. If you know of anyone who has served in the military, won’t you take a few minutes to try and imagine what they and their families have given up in order to serve you? Just let them know that you are grateful for what they have given to you. I think my family is going to be finding ways to show our appreciation to the armed forces this year. God Bless our Troops.

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