My eldest child, a daughter, a former Air Force enlisted airmen, a retired Air Force Major, mother of two, a Doctor of Nursing Practice and presently a hospital administrator sent the following message to her team at work prior to the Christmas Holiday. I have her permission to share.
I have always enjoyed Christmas. For me it is a holiday filled with food, family and often many beautiful miracles. One of the best parts of Christmas, and this entire holiday season, regardless of religion is the sense of camaraderie and peace I often feel, something our busy lives don’t often have. One of my greatest memories of the power of peace came over 20 years ago and I was scheduled to work the week of Christmas. I was a young Airman, living in Berlin, West Germany behind the Berlin wall. My day to day job was to identify Russian or other communist aircraft and provide early warning to the field Generals so that we could deploy resources to prevent the Russians from entering Europe and invading. It was often a tense job. There were many times when we scrambled aircraft in light of a threat and worried that we may be entering into WWIII. One year, I learned that even for our enemies, there was the hope of something different. My first year in Berlin, Christmas Eve, I came into work for the 5PM – 5AM shift. As was typically the case, the other shift briefed me on the current state of operations, which areas I should be focused on and the current state of threat. It was not a Russian holiday, so there was no need to think the night would be quiet. I sat back, with my sergeant beside me watching and prepared for a night of work. As I sat there I noticed all the aircraft slowly returning to base. By 10PM, Christmas Eve there were no aircraft in the skies, the area was quiet. Out team sat there all night and watched a beautiful sight, an empty radar screen – for me – evidence of true peace, perhaps, world peace, as the two largest superpowers backed down and rested. For me, a young 19 year old away from home, this evidence, that at our core the world is good and peace is possible, if only for a short time, gave me hope…. which is what Christmas and this holiday season is all about.
Our world is crazy – we have struggled through an election that has divided us in many ways. Terrorists continue to try to impact our ability to feel safe. Our own lives and families struggle each and every day with many challenges, but this should not be what guides our day or our purpose. I encourage you to use this season, with your families and friends to share time, fellowship, and good food with each other, and reflect on what is truly important to you. Each of you are changing lives every day, providing our community with the gift of peace of mind, peace in knowing they are getting better support and healthcare, peace in knowing that they are not alone in their life’s journey. Thank you for all you do for each other, for our team, for our organization and our community.
May you each have a moment of peace in the coming days.