Holiday season begins
Family is the driving point behind many of our decisions. Many of the things we do are for our family, and every family has their own traditions that they pass down to each generation. This is even more evident when the holidays come around.
For those of us who are stationed or deployed overseas, the holidays allow us a new way to celebrate. We carry fond memories of the holidays spent with our families and have the opportunity to forge new experiences with our brothers and sisters stationed with us.
As fun as we make them, the holidays can serve as a time of hardship as well. The separation between us and our families may be a source of stress at the
best of times. That stress becomes significantly more noticeable when the time to celebrate the holidays comes around.
Each family has unique traditions they share during certain holidays that make a “normal” celebration unforgettable. My family, for instance, celebrates my father’s birthday and Thanksgiving at the same time. We never get him a birthday cake, instead we share a pumpkin pie with a single candle in the middle, each of us getting a slice and a scoop of ice cream.
Our Christmas was close to the traditional celebrations most would expect, but we never got to touch the presents under the tree until after our family had eaten. The best plates and silverware were brought out and food filled the table and counters in our kitchen. After everyone had enjoyed the bounty of food to their hearts content we would open the presents.
While those of us stationed overseas are unable to celebrate exactly like we would if we were home, modern technology has given us an opportunity to share our holiday celebrations with families a world apart. Social networks, video streaming services, voice over internet protocol services, email, instant messaging and even plain old phones calls can help us keep in contact with our families. These services and technologies give us the opportunity to open presents, eat together over a video chat, or just sit down and talk with your family to let them know that everything is all right.
During this holiday season, sit down and let your family and friends know that you wish them well and are thinking about them. It will mean the world to both parties. They will know that no matter how far away you are, you still think about them and you know that they still think of you.
Hersey is a combat correspondent for the Okinawa Marine newspaper.