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President’s Perspective -- Home for the Holidays by COL Steve Bond, USA (Ret)


As I write this to meet the deadline for The Intercom December edition, we are just coming off Veterans Day and preparing for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.  For Veterans Day, I had several wonderful opportunities to speak to groups on why our country stops to remember Veterans on Veterans Day.  The message I left with each group was to thank Veterans and those currently in the military for their faithful service and sacrifices.  The theme of this Intercom is on our experiences of serving in the military during the holidays.  One of the common experiences we all share is being away from family and friends during this special time of year. 

I recall being a young officer, far from home stationed in Italy.  The instantaneous communications of today with cell phones, e-mail, text messages, facetime and so forth, were only a dream back then.  One year in the late-1970s, after writing a Christmas greeting and mailing presents to my family in early December, I found out they received them well into the New Year!  Into the late-1990, things did not get much better.  It also seemed that Thanksgiving fell during prime training time and the deployments just didn’t stop for the holidays.  Sharing Thanksgiving and Christmas with my extended family, in-laws, or even my wife and daughter was always very special, but something that just did not seem to happen due to work conflicts, distances and time involved to get together.  One thing I always think about around Thanksgiving and Christmas is eating in the Mess Hall--or Dining Facility as it now called--with the troops.  For my wife and daughter, this was their family holiday tradition, and we always reminisce about that each holiday season--and remark about the great food!  The last time I did this, however, was once again without my wife and daughter--and of course I missed them dearly--while visiting and sharing the holiday meals with the troops serving at Forward Operating Bases in Iraq in 2008, during what was called “The Surge”.   I thought as we went from camp-to-camp, how this was a huge part of my military-family holiday tradition.  But what I also remembered was my own time away from family, friends and loved ones, and I knew that each of those in that faraway place were experiencing what I felt as a young Lieutenant being away for the holidays.    

I hope all of you enjoy the holiday season this year.  Travelling looks promising and it should be a good opportunity for you to gather with friends, family, and loved ones.  As you do this, I know you are remembering those still standing watch and serving in camps, posts, bases, and stations, both near and far, that are unable to do that. 

Happy Holidays!  Let me know if you have comments or concerns by e-mailing me at  

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