Not all are home for the holidays

The holiday season can be exciting and overwhelming for everyone as we prepare for parties, arrange travel and shop for gifts, but it’s important in all that hubbub to take some time this holiday season to think about the men and women serving active duty in our military.

While December is a wonderful time for most families to spend time with loved ones and celebrate holiday traditions, it is the toughest time of the year for America’s military families. Sons and daughters, husbands and wives are sometimes thousands of miles away and unable hold their children on Christmas morning or kiss their spouse under the mistletoe.

Fortunately there are ways anyone can help. Your family can adopt a military family and cement a memorable holiday by helping purchase gifts or providing a tree for their home. You and your family or community group can sponsor a group of soldiers and send well wishes and gifts to the servicemen and women directly. As military spouses we say with confidence that every kind gesture for soldiers and their families during the holidays is greatly appreciated.

We have each gotten to work with hundreds of Hoosier soldiers and military spouses as the wife of the former adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard and the chancellor of WGU Indiana.

The brave men and women who serve in the armed forces consistently tell us that the kind of personal support they receive from the Indiana community has a tangible effect on company morale. WGU Indiana has a number of active duty students, and it is clear from their correspondence with their academic mentors that any connection to home is appreciated.

While the holidays often are hectic and stressful for everyone, it is easy to forget in the relative comfort of our homes that thousands of military families have an additional weight on their shoulders this time of year. Make an effort through the season to support the military families in your community with your time, talent, or treasure. We wish each family a happy holidays and a wonderful new year.

Rowana Um

barger of Bargersville is the wife of retired Indiana National Guard Adjuntant General Marty Umbarger. Allison Barger is the chancellor of WGU Indiana.