The table on Christmas Day is set for four. But it’s not really Christmas when there is one person missing. Families anticipate presents on the big day, but will they get what they want most in time for the holidays?
While most families are counting down the days until they unveil the presents and get a start on their list of New Year’s resolutions, military families count the days until a family member is home. “When they’re gone you count down the days like it’s Christmas, but better,” says Erika Richardson (’15)
With the conflict in Afghanistan still going on, U.S. military troops continue to serve overseas, making it especially hard to cope with during the holiday season. Old holiday traditions have to be put on hold with loved ones gone, and new ones are made. “It was very sad because usually you spend time with your family for the holidays, but you know that they’re off fighting for the country,” Taylor Hightower (’15)
For the time that a loved one is gone, military families find ways to keep the holiday spirit alive. Soldiers make phone calls, text, e-mail, Skype, and even send out mail to stay in touch. Sometimes families even have the benefit of visiting their soldier.
With still over 400,000 troops gone for the holiday season, the holidays won’t be the same for some families. The hope of a troop coming back in time for the holidays is still on top of some families’ Christmas list.