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Posts made in: 'Holidays' (17) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 17

December 16, 2010 at 2:09pm

Servicemembers create holiday poem and video

WASHINGTON (AFPS) — Servicemembers stationed from Antarctica to Afghanistan lent their talents and time to craft a video for a poem titled "'Twas a Night in December," based on Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," but rewritten with a military twist.

More than 40 commands around the world, representing every branch of the military service, participated.

Along with the military people who contributed to this creative effort, country music star Toby Keith introduced the video, reinforcing his long-term support for military and their families stationed around the world.

Some of the servicemembers involved in this holiday greeting were located in the most remote regions in the world. For example, Air Force Capt. Graydon Muller of 6th Special Operations Squadron and Air Force Capt. Rob Marshall of the 8th Special Operations Squadron departed Nov. 24 to climb Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica. Muller and Massif took time away from their climb to speak a few lines for the video.

Other servicemembers from Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Pakistan and throughout the United States participated in making the video. In fact, people on six out of the world's seven continents took part. The video was produced by Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.

'Twas a Night in December

'Twas a night in December and all over the world,
At bases and stations where our flag flies unfurled,
The Holiday season had long since commenced,
And spread its spirit of cheer through the Department of Defense.

Combat boots sat at ease by the fence line with care,
In hopes that a return date soon would be there.

At home, loved ones slept sound in their beds,
With visions of troops coming home in their heads.
As Moms perform night patrols, and Dads conduct checks,
A long winter's nap is the last thing they expect.
When out on the tarmac arose such a clatter,
Soldiers and sailors sprang up to see what was the matter.

Away to the deck, they hustled, they dashed,
Some ran through a passageway, one opened a hatch.

In Antarctica, moonlight shimmered on the snow,
A sliver of light shown on the objects below.
And what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But letters and packages bundled with care.
Yet it wasn't just there that we saw these things land,
We received them as well, here in Afghanistan!
They were packaged so well that they could withstand,
The harsh desert winds full of Iraqi sand.
Onto Nicaragua with volcanoes and lakes,
Padded so carefully that nothing would break
Addressed from our family and friends we hold dear,
With Holiday greetings and a "Wish You Were Here!"
We lined up and claimed them, with smiles ear-to-ear,
Every person overcome with Holiday cheer.

Your support and your thoughts are the best possible gift,
We send you our thanks for giving our spirits such a lift.
Thanks from the National Guard
Thanks from the Army,
Thanks from the Navy,
Thanks from the Marines,
Thanks from the Air Force,
Thanks from the Coast Guard,
We want you to know how much this gift means.
In our eyes you're super, and we mean A-OK.

We will do our duty and keep defending our freedom,
And wish you and yours the very best this Holiday season!

You can watch the video here.

Filed under: Holidays,

December 10, 2010 at 9:58am

Gates gives 4 soldiers a holiday lift home

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT - It's a long flight home from the battlefields of Afghanistan.

But four soldiers traveling to see family for the holidays got an upgrade, courtesy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Normally, their leave would have started with a wait at the airport for the next available seat on a military plane to Kuwait, followed by a grueling commercial flight back to the U.S.

On Thursday, however, the four soldiers got to skip the long lines and security pat-downs, and instead boarded Gates' expansive E-4B - a militarized version of the Boeing 747, known as the Doomsday Plane.

And their layover wasn't at an airport hotel - it was at the luxurious Emirates Palace that stretches for more than a kilometer along the Persian Gulf coast in Abu Dhabi, where Gates stopped to meet Thursday night with the crown prince.

"This way they'll get a more comfortable, hopefully more enjoyable and certainly faster trip home," said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, as Gates plane' coasted over Eastern Europe. The rugged aircraft was designed to be an airborne operations center for the Pentagon chief in the event of a national emergency.

Morrell said Gates has long wanted to give some troops a ride home for leave or at the end of their tour. Before Gates left the U.S., staff told commanders in Afghanistan that there were a few empty seats on the plane and asked them to find some troops who were heading back to the U.S. within the secretary's schedule.

Two of the four are a married couple heading to Texas to spend the holidays with family members who are taking care of their three sons. Both have deployed four times to war, once to Kosovo, twice to Iraq and now to Afghanistan.

Another soldier has deployed twice to Afghanistan during his four years in the Army and was heading to Indiana. And the fourth has been in the Army for four years and is on his first deployment to Afghanistan.

December 6, 2010 at 3:43pm

Olympia WWII memorial to be rededicated Tuesday

Olympia - Retired Rear Admiral Herbert M. Bridge, USNR will deliver the keynote address when the Washington State World War II Memorial is re-dedicated on Tuesday, Dec. 7, on the state capitol campus in Olympia.

The public is invited to attend this event which will take place in a heated structure next to the memorial which is located between the north diagonal and 11th street on the main campus.

Simon Kogan, the Olympia artist who created the memorial in 1999, restored the memorial and recreated the ghost images on the five bronze blades, images which represent members of the armed forces as well as the civilians who participated in the conflict on the home front.

The 14-foot-high blades contain the names of the nearly 6,000 Washington residents killed in the war. The memorial's large granite stones are engraved with major battles fought by year.

The memorial is surrounded by nearly 3,000 granite tiles, which include engraved personal messages from families and friends of those who served during World War II. The tiles were installed last summer, replacing weathered original tiles, which were crushed and used as part of the base material for the new tiles. The summertime project also improved drainage around the memorial.

Parking is limited on the Capitol Campus! Please consider using off-site parking at the Olympia Farmers Market and the Free DASH Shuttle to the Capitol which runs every 15 minutes. Hourly parking is also available throughout downtown Olympia with access to the DASH shuttle on Capitol Way.

For additional information, please contact the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs at 360-725-2180.

Filed under: Ceremony, Holidays, Honors, Veterans,

November 10, 2010 at 5:13pm

Veterans honored through music, poetry and essays

Patriotism and heartfelt remembrances took place in every school in Clover Park School District last week as students and staff paid tribute to our nation's veterans.

Hillside Elementary School students sing several classic songs under the direction of Peter Giardina, fine arts and music teacher. Congressman Adam Smith briefly spoke to students and members of the American Legion explained the importance and significance of the U.S. flag.

Members of Clover Park High School's Air Force JROTC Drill Team and Color Guard performed at Lochburn Middle School's assembly. Retired Lt. Col. Gary Roberts, senior AFJROTC instructor from CPHS, was the keynote speaker and gave students a historical look at his military career and how he achieved his goals.

Oakbrook Elementary School students show off their handmade flags as they sing to their parents and guests. The Fighting 56th Army Band from Joint Base Lewis-McChord also performed at the assembly.

Veterans stand at attention at Tyee Park Elementary School as "Taps" was played by members of the 56th Army Big Band from JBLM. Students sang a variety of patriotic songs and heard from keynote speaker Retired Gen. Johnnie E. Wilson. This is Tyee Park's 22nd Veterans Day celebration under the direction of Tracey Lundquist, fine arts teacher.

Army Sgt. Galvan spoke to students at Idlewild Elementary School about the importance of Veterans Day. Students also sang songs and teacher Susan Morgan told a story in remembrance of her father, Col. Edward Chandler.

Filed under: Ceremony, Holidays, Veterans,

October 7, 2010 at 10:12am

Holiday mailing deadlines released

This from Air Force Times: For those mailing packages to friends and loved ones in the military overseas, Christmas comes early. And Hanukkah comes even earlier.

It depends on how you plan to send it, but if it's traveling the slowest way - parcel post - mail that package by Nov. 12 to get it there by Dec. 25, according to recommended holiday shipping dates provided by the Military Postal Service Agency.

Hanukkah begins Dec. 1 this year, so you'll need to send it 24 days earlier - by Oct. 19 - if it's going parcel post.

Read more here.

Filed under: Holidays, Familes, Iraq, Afghanistan,

October 5, 2010 at 11:02am

Tyee Park students to honor veterans Nov. 4

On Nov. 4, Tyee Park Elementary School students and staff will honor American heroes at their annual Veterans Day celebration.

This year's event theme is "Hurray for the U.S.A." In addition to songs from Tyee Park students, the program will feature a keynote address from retired U.S. Army Gen. Johnnie E. Wilson, and a performance from the 56th Army Band from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The program is scheduled from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the school's gym, 11920 Seminole Road SW in Lakewood.

Invited guests include retired Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Joe Jackson, a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor; retired Brig. Gen. and Mayor of Lakewood, Doug Richardson; the Pearl Harbor Survivors, Tuskegee Airmen, veterans from local VFWs and American Legions and representation from all branches of the military. Members of a local Stryker Brigade Combat Team and state and local dignitaries are also expected to attend.

"This show is Tyee Park's way of thanking our military, both active and retired, for serving our country," said fine arts teacher Tracey Lundquist. "Many of our veterans do not consider themselves heroes,but in our eyes, they are America's treasures. We want to honor those individuals who work to preserve our freedom."

Filed under: Veterans, Education, Holidays,

September 3, 2010 at 1:06pm

NCOs to monitor soldiers' nightlife activities this weekend

Patrols will keep an eye on GI drinking at more than a dozen bars in Lakewood and Tacoma, according to The News Tribune.

So-called courtesy patrols of non-commissioned Army officers are starting to make appearances at more than a dozen bars in Lakewood and Tacoma, just in time for the long Labor Day weekend.

"We think it's going to be a positive thing for our soldiers and our neighboring communities," Col. Michael Courts, deputy chief of staff for I Corps, told the paper.

What the patrol is not is a law enforcement sweep, Courts emphasized. Patrol members will be in uniform and will wear a brassard on their arms, he said, but they won't be armed and they won't make arrests.

The program does not aim to discourage soldiers from visiting bars, Courts said. Lewis-McChord will see some 18,000 soldiers return from overseas deployments this year - nearly two-thirds are already home - and some will naturally want to blow off a little steam, he said.

For more on this story, click here.


Filed under: Fort Lewis, Holidays, Lakewood, Tacoma,

December 14, 2009 at 1:29pm

SANTA BRING MY SOLDIER HOME

For all those hoping Santa brings their soldiers home safely.  Video here. Thanks Christine from the Pet Brigade for the heads up.

Filed under: Holidays,

December 12, 2009 at 8:02pm

Holiday greetings

DVIDS features lots of holiday greetings from units all over the world.  Find your loved ones here.

Filed under: Holidays,

December 9, 2009 at 10:29am

Fisher House decked out for the holidays

Volunteers and Wal Mart are making the holidays more festive at Fort Lewis's Fisher House.  Below are the photos from their Facebook page.

Filed under: Holidays,

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