At first writing about Fort Robinson as being a place to be home for the holidays might seem a bit odd. After all, other than possibly being open for their annual December historical Christmas dinner, Fort Robinson State Park is basically closed from November through March. So, the officer’s quarters are shut for the winter. No holiday decorating taking place in these homes from time past.
A view of one of the officer’s quarters from a distance.
Yet as I have seen “commercials” on this Christmas, I became more and more convinced that this needed to be my focus today. You know the video clips where military families from overseas send their greetings? The ones that often bring tears to my eyes. Where soldiers and often their families are far from the U.S., so that we can be home for the holidays? Where we are living in relative peace and safety, and where they are choosing to forgo that privilege, at least for a season.
The setting would have been similar back when these Fort Robinson officer quarters were occupied over one hundred years ago. The soldiers may have been at “home” for the holidays, yet they were far from their original dwellings to protect the peace of a fledgling frontier. Sacrificing comfort and security to provide those very things for others.
Tomorrow I will write more about the quarters and the soldiers that called them home. But for today, I just wanted to say thank you. To our military, thank you for serving our country and for fighting to ultimately win peace on earth. Thank you for sacrificing your freedom to provide that very thing that you currently lack. After all, is there any better time to be grateful than this season? That first Christmas a young couple were also far from home. Their sojourn and birth of their son would provide me with the opportunity to find ultimate freedom. Another undeserved gift and sacrifice.
As I ponder all of this that has been given to me, I cannot help but think of a song that I heard again last night. The one that, according to Ace Collins in The Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, was written during the midst of war. 1942 – a time when this nation was longing to have hope that conflict would soon be over. A meaningful song still today as it reminds us to pray that someday everyone will get to be home for the holidays.