United States Army soldiers toast each other before eating Christmas dinner December 25, 2001 at Bagram Air Force Base in Kabul, Afghanistan. Many soldiers were able to call home on satellite phones to send holiday greetings to their families. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. It’s a holiday that has almost everything. It has presents and trees and music and good cheer and the wish of “Peace on Earth; Good Will Toward Men.”

But the real reason for the season as the old phrase goes is the religious significance of Christmas to Christian’s worldwide.

No, I’m not going to write a Christmas day sermon replete with wise men and shepherds keeping watch over their flocks.

But, there is good reason to multiply the feeling we share during this time of year. Family and friends and an appreciation for the good things we have in our lives that money does not buy.

While we don’t always act very Christian to each other on a daily basis I think Christmas is the time that encourages us to be more tolerant of each others feelings and beliefs.

A Memorable Christmas

One of my most memorable Christmas’ happened in 1966. It was hot that day — about 110° or so as I remember. Myself and two other guys were sitting in the front row of a makeshift amphitheater in CuChi, Republic of South Vietnam.

We got there about 7:30 in the morning for a Bob Hope USO Show scheduled for around 1:00 PM that afternoon. We were there early to save a seat for our Company Commander Capt. John B. Kidd, yes Captain Kidd,  from Texas. He was kind enough to send out some beer chips, and Cokes later that morning.

The Christmas Show

Many of you reading this will have no clue who Joey Heatherton or Les Brown and his Band of Renown were. Phyllis Diller might ring a bell for some.

As I mentioned above we had front row seats but as show time approached we were moved back to the third row to accommodate the nurses and the wounded that were mobile enough to attend the show.

Silent Night

You can watch part of that Christmas show on YouTube here. You will see a camera tower in the crowd with cameras and cue cards. We are sitting to the lower left of that tower right behind the wounded.

We were on the aisle but after the show started the aisle disappeared. If you can find me please let me know, the crowd shots are pretty quick.

At the end of the show we all sang “Silent Night.” We were close enough to the stage to see these big stars at the time, that didn’t have to be there with us, singing this religious Christmas Carol with tears streaming down their faces.

It was quite a moment that was lost of the majority of the crowd that were too far away to see. Keep in mind there were no giant TV screens back then.

Some Final Thoughts

That was the year that everything to do with Christmas sort of fell into place for me. I realized how lucky I was.

Not lucky to be sitting in the middle of a war, but to see a new appreciation for my country, what it stood for, and how special it was to be a part of it all.

A lot of folks you see in that crowd didn’t make it home. I was lucky enough to return with a renewed appreciation for the freedoms we all enjoy and often take for granted.

I have never taken this country or it’s freedoms for granted since that day.

So it’s with a happy heart that I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Very Prosperous and Happy New Year. Let’s all make an extra effort to carry the Christmas spirit throughout 2015.

What was your most memorable Christmas?

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