On an emotional level, my wife, children and grandchildren are a central focus of mine. On a second level, I have a connection to those in uniform. The recent tragedies at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base and Naval Air Station Pensacola struck close to home for me. I served in the Navy as a chaplain for 20 years, concluding my career as the senior chaplain at NAS. Often, people are unaware of the enormous sacrifices that military people make on a daily basis.
Here are a few examples of this dedication. For those assigned for duty on an aircraft carrier, it is possible to be away from home 75 percent of a year’s time during a deployment overseas. I once attended a ceremony where a senior enlisted person was honored for serving over 1,600 days on duty on a submarine. I have counseled people on one-year overseas assignments who greatly miss family and friends. Sometimes, wounds are lifelong emotional ones that need to be acknowledged as well. Those who serve do so willingly for love of flag and country.
At this time of lights, gifts and celebrations, let us recall the heroic Maccabees who fought bravely for our faith. Let us recall and honor those in the military, law-enforcement, fire and first-responders who are always on call for our liberty and well-being. If you have a chance to offer them thanks – do so. It’ll make their day.
Albert Slomovitz is a captain, chaplain (ret.), United States Navy.