Greetings and Happy Holidays!
With the excitement of the holiday season now fully upon us it seems that the days are not long enough to accommodate our responsibilities at work, at home, to our children, our families and neighbors. While there are different holidays to celebrate and traditions to observe we all share a common prayer: that the New Year will bring us a renewed sense of purpose, peace in our world and prosperity to our communities, our Commonwealth and the Nation.
For the Soldiers, Airmen and Civilians of the Massachusetts National Guard (MANG), the joys of the holiday season are tempered by the sacrifices being made by many of our members and their families. As I write this blog entry nearly 1,800 MANG Soldiers and Airmen are deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in support of the federal military mission and hundreds of others are preparing to deploy in the New Year. All told, since 2001 approximately 8,000 MANG service members have served overseas deployments. For those service men and women and their families the separation that comes during the holiday season is a true hardship that they bear with grace and dignity. Moreover, the holiday season is particularly difficult for the families of the thirteen (13) MANG service members who have made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of our Nation as well as the many who have been injured and wounded.
So in the spirit of the holiday season I ask everyone to take a moment to stop and reflect on the service and sacrifice of our Commonwealth’s military members and veterans. Wherever possible, please include them and their families in your community’s holiday celebrations as well as your thoughts and prayers.
I want to thank Secretary Heffernan for her steadfast leadership and support and for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the EOPSS blog to speak on behalf of the citizen-Soldiers and –Airmen of the MANG.
May the joy of the Holiday Season sustain all of us and bring us closer to a New Year of hope, prosperity and ultimately peace and security for all.