Until the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., most of the wives, parents, siblings and offspring of those I have covered in this war have told me about their concern for how our country's economy, the fiscal cliff, or the Middle East mess or the Benghazi fiasco might affect the future or job prospects for their loved one in uniform. That's no longer the case.
Now, those Blue Star and Gold Star family members picking up an autographed copy of "Heroes Proved" talk about an apparent cascade of catastrophe affecting our nation. They express shock and horror at what happened. They tell of their sense of grief for the families of those killed, and most say they are praying for the survivors and the community. Many tell how anxious they are about how the irrational act of a lone, unstable gunman could impact their own family member in our armed forces when he or she comes home. They worry about how it might alter public perceptions about their loved ones in military service -- and those who carry weapons to defend us all.
Few of our countrymen really comprehend this uncertainty. Fewer than two percent of us even know the name of someone serving in uniform. That's why Freedom Alliance, an organization devoted to encouraging, supporting and honoring military service has redoubled its efforts on the "home front" this Christmas season. In the days ahead, the "Presents for Patriots" project will deliver hundreds of Christmas gifts to the children of service members recovering from the wounds of war. Freedom Alliance president Tom Kilgannon said, "We've already packed and shipped thousands of 'Gifts from Home' care packages to the troops overseas. It's equally important to let their families here at home know we recognize the sacrifices they are making."
Action like this won't change bad news here at home. But it does serve to let brave Americans wearing flak jackets, helmets, fight suits and combat boots in faraway places -- and their families here at home -- know we still care. That is after all the spirit of the season.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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