Thank you to all Vets and families of the Vets who have served our country.
Although Al, my husband, and I were never in the military we both have worked for the military as civilians. I only worked for the Army for a few months but Al worked for them for over 25 years.
One of the highlights of my life was when we were living and working for the Army in Germany. It was December 1991 just before the start of the first Gulf War AKA Desert Storm. I was lucky enough to volunteer to work at the USO's tent City at Rhein Main Air Force Base. Our job was to greet, feed and talk to the troops who had just flown in from the States and were en route to Kuwait, Saudi, and unknown points in the Persian Gulf region.
Most of the troops we saw were very young 18 to 22 year old men and women. All were dressed in desert khakis. All had automatic weapons slung over their shoulders. When they came into the tent the weapons came off their shoulders and were placed upright into a pyramid shape by unit or squadron. These gun pyramids were an interesting contrast to the fresh cut Christmas trees scattered throughout the tent.
After having the long flight from the States to Germany many of the troops were jet lagged but full of bravado at the task they would face in only a few weeks. It was almost a pep rally before the big game type atmosphere.
We did our best to feed them, talk with them, and show them how to use the equipment to make MARS Phone calls to family back in the States.
About the middle of the afternoon, a group of 7 to 8 year old Brownie Scouts in full uniform showed up to sing Christmas Carols. At first there were some snide comments about the little girl's performance but within a few minutes some of the troops started gathering round and singing along with the girls. By the time the girl's finished I don't think there was a dry eye in the place.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon talking to soldiers, both men and women, who suddenly realized they were going to war . For some of them this would be the first time they had ever been away from their family at Christmas. One woman who sticks in my mind after all these years was thinking about her 3 year son. It was heart wrenching. It was an emotional day, but I think it was probably one of the most rewarding days of my life.
To all those troops , others who have served and the troops now in service to our country I say God bless and keep you and thank you for your service.