The Holiday season can be particularly difficult for military personnel and their families who are separated by deployment or simply struggling financially. The stress and hardship of deployment can create an incredibly lonesome holiday setting for both personnel abroad and their families holding the fort at home. In addition, many families who are blessed and able to spend the holiday together can experience hardships with the added financial burden that Christmas brings to many each year.
Christmas will be celebrated on Friday, December 25th, 2020.
Christmas has deep roots in our nation’s sense of tradition and celebration. When combined with military efforts, there is a strong presence of strength, unity, and cheer that permeates all American families, unifying both military and non-military families with an awareness of the spirit of giving and hope.
U.S. Troops Serving Overseas This Christmas
Service members serve on all seven continents — there is one service member in Antarctica — and on all the seas. Military personnel serve in more than 170 countries.
Service members deployed around the world during Christmas:
Saudi Arabia: 3,000
United Arab Emirates: 5,0000
Sailors will man their ships from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Mexico. Navy officials maintain that roughly a third of the Navy is deployed at any one time.
Air Force missileers and airmen are in the silos, by the planes and in the command centers ensuring the nuclear system is ready if needed.
History of Christmas in the Military
Christmas has long been celebrated in the military, even in times of war. Perhaps the most famous celebration of Christmas in the military is the Christmas Truce of 1914. Starting on Christmas Eve, troops on both the British and German sides began singing Christmas Carols to one another. The sounds of guns and cannons faded along the Western Front in Belgium and were replaced by holiday celebrations, albeit cautious ones, in the trenches. The Germans initiated this temporary “truce” and began with the singing of carols and placement of Christmas trees along the trenches. On Christmas morning, German soldiers emerged unarmed, calling out “Merry Christmas” to the Allied British soldiers in the trenches across no-man’s-land.
This gesture of goodwill between enemies came a mere five months after the outbreak of war in Europe, and is perhaps the last example of the concept of chivalry between enemies in warfare. This notion of goodwill between enemies was never again repeated, as future similar attempts were promptly squashed with threats of discipline from squad leaders. Even a world war could not destroy the Christmas spirit.