Christmas is the time of year when candle-lit windows and freshly fallen snow seem to filter and soften the rush of everyday routines, allowing the most basic blessings, faith and family, to zoom back into focus. Simple traditional activities like trimming the Christmas tree, assembling a jigsaw puzzle, and lingering in a kitchen warmed with the smell of freshly baked gingerbread, create lasting memories that even the most hardened of adult hearts will always remember and cherish.
It is a tender time, when young children peer out their bedroom windows to see the twinkling stars that remind them of Jesus’ birth, and a magical time when staring at the large yellow moon might reveal a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh and his reindeer dashing across the moonlit sky.
On these same Christmas nights, American troops around the world are looking up at the same stars and moonlight; soldiers who harbor a deep longing and constant concern for loved ones, but who have the sense of duty and courage to fight for what is right, soldiers who pray for world peace and safe return home, but who know that the ultimate sacrifice for freedom may have to come at a priceless cost.
Marine First Lieutenant Leonard Smith Isacks of New Orleans left behind a wife and three young children when he embarked for the Pacific. On December 17, 1944 he typed out a letter to his two sons, explaining why he would not be joining them for Christmas that year. It is a letter from a man who knew he might never make it home, a far-sighted sentiment that challenged his children to live up to the ideals they believe in[…]
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Image source: National World War II Museum, New Orleans