Saturday, December 10, 2005

Troops Come Home For Christmas Holiday

As most of us scurry around trying to get our Christmas shopping done some families are getting a present that has greater value than anything found at retail stores. Thousands of military troops came home today from Iraq and many will be able to spend the holiday's with their families for the first time in a couple of years. The troop homecomings are part of regular military troop rotations that take place year round, but the fact that this latest rotation is happening at Christmas makes for a great news story that will certainly bring tears to the eyes of anyone that witnesses these families reunite. Of course, there is a down side to this story because for every soldier that is coming home to their family this Christmas, there will be another one that is leaving for Iraq to take their place.

It would be wonderful if all our troops could come home for the holiday's next Christmas. Being separated from friends and family is hard enough during any other time of year, but it must be terrible at Christmas time. The families of U.S. soldiers have to sacrifice so much when their loved ones are sent to far away lands. In recent years, the public has shown their better side by helping to support military families, not only in an emotional way, but financial as well. I live about 50 miles away from Fort Hood, Texas which has tens of thousands of military troops stationed there. We get regular updates in our local newspaper about what's going on with the families and there is always someone in this area that is willing to step up and help when a need arises. This makes me very proud of where I live.

One of the big welcome home ceremonies was held at Baylor Universities Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco today. I watched some of it on the ten o'clock news tonight. These poor families had to sit through two hours of speeches from politicians before they could be reunited with their loved ones, but I don't think it was really all that bad, because all of the speeches were praising the work of the people they love the most. Another moving part of this ceremony was the swearing in, as American citizens, some of the members of these returning troops. Many of these soldiers were not even United States citizens when they left for Iraq and risked their lives. Today, dozens of them were given their U.S. citizenship and while watching this part of the ceremony it brought tears to my eyes watching the pride in their faces as they took the oath administered by a federal judge here in Waco.

This country has always been a beacon of hope for people in all countries around the world and it makes me very emotional to see how these immigrants are willing to risk their lives just to have a chance to become a citizen of the United States of America. Folks like me that were born here have no idea what it's like to grow up in countries around the world that offer no opportunity or freedom for their citizens. We are so lucky and most days we don't even realized what a debt of gratitude we own to the founding fathers of this country. They were true visionaries which had the wisdom to create a Constitutional government which has become so popular that some people are willing to fight and die for a country that isn't even their own.

I think that's why I write so many stories about problems of corruption and political extremism in the U.S. government. We all have such a good thing going in the United States and in my view the only thing that will ever bring this country down will be infighting among the various factions of the government. It wasn't a foreign government that destroyed the old Soviet Union, but an implosion from within that cause a corrupt government to fail. We're all humans which means we all make mistakes and politicians are the same as anyone else in this country. Sometimes, I may take unfair shots at political leaders because I'm disappointed in their actions and choices, but I'd prefer them to some other form of government. They all come up for a job review every few years and if we don't like their performance, we have a system to replace them. Check your money sometime for the faces of the folks you should thank for that privilege.

I feel horrible when I here about our brave men and women getting blown up by road side bombs in Iraq each day on the news. From a political standpoint, I have many concerns about the war in Iraq, but I have no doubt that many of our best people are risking their lives everyday there, doing what they feel is right in helping these less fortunate folks, at least have a chance at the type of government and freedom we take for granted, sometimes, here in the United States. Someday, these brave men and women that are serving in Iraq deserve to have some kind of memorial build to honor their service and sacrifice to this country. This place should honor their mission and bravery. I'm so proud of them and I hope ALL can rejoin their families, soon. These fine soldiers represent the best of what this country has to offer the world.

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