These Christmas wishes were authored and submitted to Breitbart Texas by Senator John Cornyn.
Surely one of the greatest gifts we celebrate this Christmas is the sacrifice that our brave men and women in uniform make every day to protect us, and to ensure our freedoms and way of life. We are thankful not only for their tremendous sacrifice but also that of their families who support them from the home front.
Christmas can be a difficult season for our heroes and their family members. Many of our service members spend the holidays far from home — far from the warmth of Christmas dinner or the excitement of children opening gifts under the tree. For some Texas military families, a missing place at the dinner table represents more than a temporary absence, but a life taken too soon — a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation.
Thankfully Texas is home to so many generous and compassionate individuals who have rallied around the families of our warriors. I’m reminded of the Dallas-based non-profit organization, Snowball Express, which partners with the USO and American Airlines to provide an all-expenses-paid weekend trip for the children of service members who have died while on active duty since September 11, 2001. This year, volunteer pilots, flight attendants and thousands of individuals donating their time and resources made it possible for nearly 2,000 children to visit Dallas-Fort Worth for a weekend of holiday fun and activities. Most importantly, the trip brings together children healing from common losses, and many parents say the Snowball Express is therapeutic, allowing their children the opportunity to talk about their loss with peers who have been through similar experiences. One parent said, “I hate to say it’s nice to know somebody else is in the same boat, but it’s nice to know that we’re not the only ones paddling.”
I’m also reminded of the many volunteers and donors who support facilities like the Warrior and Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where I had the privilege last week of joining wounded warriors and their families for the center’s annual Christmas luncheon. The Warrior and Family Support Center provides a relaxed, comforting environment for wounded warriors and their family members to have a meal, watch a movie, read a book or spend time with other families as they recover. Much like the Snowball Express, centers like these offer a place where individuals who have experienced similar losses and tragedies can find comfort in talking with each other and healing together.
This Christmas, I will be thinking of the men and women I met at the Warrior and Family Support Center and wishing them a speedy recovery. I’ll be thinking of the children in Texas and across the nation who will be missing their mothers or fathers on Christmas morning. And I’ll be thinking of the military families who lost loved ones in the senseless shooting at Fort Hood earlier this year, in addition to those who are still grieving the loss of family members in the terrorist attack on Fort Hood five years ago.
As we give thanks for the sacrifice of these heroes and their families, may we also give thanks for the countless individuals who show their support for our troops, not just at the holidays, but every day of the year, and may we strive to follow their example and live lives worthy of the sacrifice of so many brave Americans.
May God bless our troops, our veterans, and their families, and may He continue to bless the great State of Texas.
Follow Senator John Cornyn on Twitter @JohnCornyn.