Dear AMVETS family members and friends,
On December 24, 1967, then President Lyndon Johnson made the following statement: “Our country has known many wartime Christmases. It may seem difficult, at such times, to even say ‘Merry Christmas.’ But when you think of the bravery of the human spirit, and the compassion of the human heart, and the power of life to triumph over pain and darkness, you are properly thankful. Your own spirits are lifted higher; and you say it—and mean it—as I do now. Merry Christmas.”
On behalf of Sons of AMVETS nationwide, I extend, to those celebrating this day, a heartfelt Merry Christmas. As we reflect on the peace and love this day brings, we must not forget those who served and those now serving in defense of our freedoms.
I would like to a share a message, written by Retired General and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and released on December 18, 2018 by DoD Executive Secretary Captain Hallock Mohler.
1. WE IN THE U.S. MILITARY ARE PRIVILEGED TO DEFEND AMERICA, ESPECIALLY AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, FOR WE ENSURE OUR FELLOW AMERICANS CELEBRATE THIS SEASON OF HOPE IN PEACE AND SAFETY.
2. WE KNOW OUR FREEDOMS ARE NOT GUARANTEED BY THEMSELVES; THEY NEED DEFENDERS.
3. THIS MONTH, MANY IN OUR MILITARY WILL BE SERVING FAR FROM THEIR LOVED ONES. IT IS DIFFICULT WORK, BUT THIS IS NOTHING NEW: SINCE WASHINGTON CROSSED THE DELAWARE ON CHRISTMAS DAY IN 1776, AMERICAN TROOPS HAVE MISSED HOLIDAYS TO DEFEND OUR CITIZENS’ EXPERIMENT IN DEMOCRACY.
4. TO THOSE IN THE FIELD OR AT SEA, “KEEPING WATCH BY NIGHT” THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, YOU SHOULD RECOGNIZE THAT YOU CARRY ON THE PROUD LEGACY OF THOSE WHO STOOD THE WATCH IN DECADES PAST. IN THIS WORLD AWASH IN CHANGE, YOU HOLD THE LINE.
5. STORM CLOUDS LOOM, YET BECAUSE OF YOU YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS LIVE SAFE AT HOME. MOST DON’T KNOW YOUR NAMES BUT ALL ARE CONFIDENT THEIR FREEDOMS AND THEIR FAMILIES WILL BE KEPT SAFE.
6. FAR FROM HOME, YOU HAVE EARNED THE GRATITUDE AND RESPECT OF YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS AND IT REMAINS MY GREAT PRIVILEGE TO SERVE ALONGSIDE YOU.
7. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND MAY GOD HOLD YOU SAFE.
May everyone have a safe holiday and again, Merry Christmas!
Richard H. Thibodeau
National Sons of AMVETS