The first one, on December 20th, titled "Happy Hanukkah, Marines! Jewish Leathernecks Light the Way," by William McGurn begins:
When Jews begin their Hanukkah celebrations this week, they will commemorate a 2,200-year old revolt led by Judah Maccabee against a Greek empire attempting to crush the Jewish faith. For some, the holiday holds an added resonance, linking their military service to one of the greatest Jewish warriors of all time.The second article, on December 24th, titled "Military Families Soldier On: Christmas Homecomings From Iraq Touch a Nerve for Kin of Troops in Afghanistan," by Tamara Audi begins:
These are the Jews of the United States Marine Corps.
In the popular mind, a Jewish Marine may sound exotic. In fact, Jews have their own chapters in the history of the Corps. In his book "Semper Chai!" Howard J. Leavitt explains the compatibility with a refreshing lack of nuance: "[M]any Jews were—and are—Marines, and the basic and lofty precepts and spiritual underpinnings of the United States, the U.S. Marine Corps and Judaism are one and the same, without any differences or conflict."
This Christmas, Donna Jones is doing her best to avoid heartwarming scenes of military homecomings. It's not easy: Thousands of troops are reuniting with their families in a blur of on-camera kisses, and she works on a military base.The second article also includes these statistics:
"There are all these holiday homecomings, and I'm happy that people get to see their loved ones. I just can't watch," Mrs. Jones said. "It hurts when the situation is: Your Marine isn't coming home."
Mrs. Jones's husband, Marine Maj. William Jones, is still deployed in Afghanistan—along with 91,000 other U.S. troops.
Thousands of service members have come home from Iraq, with the last U.S. troops exiting from the country in mid-December. But tens of thousands are still deployed elsewhere, many on the front lines in Afghanistan.
That means many families are facing a holiday season with a loved one still in a combat zone. As the nation celebrates the holiday homecomings, some fear these family members are being forgotten in the frenzy.
2.3 million -- Combined total of U.S. service members deployed to Iraq and AfghanistanThe one thing we back home can do is grant the wish of a military spouse reported in the second article:
164,000 -- Peak number of troops based in Iraq, reached in 2007
91,000 -- Troops remaining in Afghanistan
We can acknowledge this holiday season that U.S. troops -- men and women -- are still in harm's way serving our country. And we can be grateful for their service and sacrifice as well as the service and sacrifice of their families.
Read the entire "Happy Hanukkah, Marines!" story now.
Read the entire "Military Families Soldier On" story now.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the eBook technothriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.