Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I am writing you from a safe and sound America this Christmas, enjoying the Holiday spirit among friends and warm company of family, with no greater worry than how many more lights I should add outside the house, or whether the tree I got this year is ever going to get set up and decorated—which it will, eventually. Thanks to you: A person I do not know but whom I'm thinking about with each trip I make to buy presents or simply go grocery shopping, each crowded mall or quiet moment with a loved one. These things are what you have chosen to miss out on yourself this season, for the first time or perhaps again, and in so doing have made them all possible for your family and everyone else back home. I am determined to make the most of this way of life which you and your comrades are giving and have given so much every day to defend—from each show of bravery and courage that no one else could even begin to imagine, to all the loneliness and other reminders of sacrifice that no one with a heart could at any time fail to understand.
Your family, your interests, your community, your home here, all are in our safe keeping and loving care while you work to complete the job of eradicating the threats to each of them still to be found in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, where you are now. Our country fully supports what you are doing and wants you to succeed at it and finish it as soon as possible, because her people know that will increase your chances of returning home much more quickly and safely, as well as to a homeland made much more secure. We're depending on you there to ensure the latter. And you're depending on us here to preserve the former while you're away doing that.
Despite a jaded, old media that bombards each of us daily with almost exclusively dismal reports aimed, perhaps unintentionally, at demoralizing us, we know and see the results of what you are accomplishing. Free elections in nations that never saw them before. The toppling of brutal dictatorships and liberation of millions. Our country's enemies all reduced to total despair and a state of complete desperation. These are just some of the things you have helped do. Billions the world over now, and many more in generations to come, are and will be saying out of tremendous, heartfelt gratitude and pride: Thank you, Soldier. Because of what you did, our world is better, freer, more stable and peaceful than it would've been otherwise.
When I get that tree and those lights up, I will be celebrating the birth of One whose torture and ultimate sacrifice on my behalf brought light and salvation to the world. I will also be remembering and praying in His name for you and your family, that He may lessen your hardships, comfort you, prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies, and bring you back home soon, safe and sound.
Our Lord be with you, guide you and bless you, Soldier. Thank you for all you have done on behalf of our nation and her people.
A grateful fellow citizen,
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