I listen to the Christmas carols and recall times early in my life when this music sounded like home and peace and hope. Those are good memories, and I wish everyone could remember those holidays with a smile. But I know that is not the case for those who experienced painful moments during the season of Christmas and New Year’s.
“Silent Night” was often the song that was played during the candlelight services on Christmas Eve. I can still see the flames brightening the faces of friends and family who had gathered for the evening worship time. Sometimes it was held at 11:00, so when we left the church it was already Christmas Day. Snow would often greet us as we were heading to our car.
I learned as the years rolled along that the holidays were often marked by strife at home and abroad. I thought of the men and women in uniform around the world, far from their families as they defended our freedoms. And then I became one of those men, sitting in a small hut built with ammunition crates on a dark hill in Vietnam. More about that later.