When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Christmas Post........

Christmas this year will be a little different than it usually is. By now, lights are on our house, lighting up the darkness, a tree is up with all the boys homemade ornaments, and the ones that we buy them every year as part of our Crispaldi tradition. I would like to say that the house is filled with smells of homemade cookies, but anyone that knows me, knows better than that. The house is decorated with garland and stuffed animals that sing when you touch them (you can tell the kids picked them out, if only to annoy us.) A manger scene sits in front of our tree and awaits the presents that will soon surround it come Christmas morning.

This year none of that happened. We will be spending Christmas down in Tennessee, (Pigeon Forge) in a log cabin, with my mom, and my sister and her family, who will be coming up from Texas. My sister has two boys that are Anthony and Nicholas' age, so I am sure they will have a lot of fun. We will be leaving today, so I wanted to get this post out because I am not sure how much opportunity I will have at a computer
. 10 days in a cabin with four rambunctious boys gives new meaning to "cabin fever."

Where I am eventually going with all this, is that however and wherever you spend your Christmas.....remember the true meaning of the season. It isn't about gifts, or egg nog, or the perfect Christmas tree, it's about celebrating th
e birth of Jesus. We always take time on Christmas Day, to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus....okay it might sound a little corny, but it's our way of reminding the kids that there is so much more to Christmas than just the presents under the tree.

In the coming days, appreciate the simple things, most of us take for granted, this season. The fact that you are surrounded by those that you love, and you can celebrate knowing that you are safe, and protected. While we gather with friends and family, our soldiers are alone with only pictures and precious memories. Remembe
r those that are far away, missing their loved ones, risking their lives, so that we may celebrate however we may choose. Remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Wreaths Across America, has captured that Christmas spirit and have blessed those around them by carrying on this tradition.

"What started over 17 years ago, as one's man's dream to honor Veterans with Maine wreaths for the holidays, has become an annual event cherished by many. Humbled with a new understanding about the impact the Arlington Wreath Project has made, not only in honoring the dead, but recognizing the sacrifices of the living, Morrill Worcester - President of Worcester Wreath Company committed himself to doing more, by reaching out across the country." For more information click here.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I wish you a child like happiness that fills your heart with joy.

"The Christmas season reminds us that a demonstration of religion is always much better than a definition of it...especially in front of the kids."


I am sure many of you have read this poem before, but we can all use a reminder of what it costs to keep us free.

Merry Christmas, My Friend.

T'was the night before Christmas, He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
To see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, No presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On a wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen,
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, and had to see more,
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
There he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I'd pictured A U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
Owed there lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the nation the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month and all year,
Because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder, how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

He must have awakened, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, Don't cry, this life is my choice.
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
My Life is My God, My Country, My Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off to sleep,
I couldn't control it and continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

Though it barely fit me, I swelled with pride,
For one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him, so quiet in the night,
This guardian of honor, so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over and in a voice clean and pure,
Said "Carry on Santa, It's Christmas Day, all secure."

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and Good Night.

Written by....James M Schmidt
To see the story behind the poem visit here.

I couldn't decide which tribute I liked best, so I posted all three.


TAO said...

I am sure that this comment is REALLY going to get me ripped apart...but it is something that must be said:

I respect the sacrifices that our soldiers and their families make. I grew up in a family that celebrated more holidays than I care to remember with a father who was not home because he was serving his country.

But, lets admire and respect everyone who has made sacrifices for this country. Lets admire the man who goes to work everyday and does his job so that this country is strong and economically secure.

Lets admire the parents who sacrifice their own gratification so that their children can go to college and make this country a better place.

Lets admire the business owner, who against all odds, grows his business and takes care of his employees, not because of some union mandate but because it is the right thing to do.

Lets admire the person who stands up for a cause and or a belief that is unpopular. Without someone excercising a freedom there would be no need for someone to protect our freedoms.

Lets take the time this holiday to look around our lives and note all of those who are deserving of admiration and respect.

Lets try to emulate the soldier this season by dedicating ourselves, in some way, to making the world around us just a little better, a little freer, and a little more based on values and morals.

I have no idea what the future holds but I do know that if I do not commit myself to an ideal, other than chasing money, then life is really not worth living.

It truly is better to give than it is to receive. We cannot make a world where everyone is a winner but we can make a world where we respect those who compete. There is no sin in losing but only in not getting involved.

So, lets honor the sacrifice of so many for so much by committing ourselves to the values that are important and meaningful to all of us.

I respect liberals as much as I do conservatives because they care and they are trying. I respect my employees because without them I would be nothing. I respect my retailers and our consumers because it is their hard earned money that keeps me in business.

So, this holiday lets give thanks to the person who is willing to dedicate themselves to playing fair, working hard, and caring about this country, our communities, and our big family more than they care about themselves personally.

Sacrifice comes lots of situations and wears a variety of uniforms.

So, hug your kids, go over and shake your neighbors hand and or smile and greet a stranger....

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Thank you for the tributes Jenn. Anjoy your time in the log cabin. I have been to Pidgeon Forge, in gact only lived about 90 minutes down the road in the NC Mountains for about 6 years and know how Beautiful it can be this time of year.

Be sure to take in Gatlenburg while your there.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

TAO - no need to rip you apart for stating the obvious. It is always appropriate to pay tribute to the heroes who sevre this Nation in uniform and the sacrifices they make for us everyday.

But there are also heroes here at home who daily meet with the grind of everyday living and work diligently and honestly yo strive in this Nation of the free.

The everyday folk who provide from their families or work like you have to provide jobs for people who in turn likewise porvide for those they love. For you sacrifice in making this possible, I salute you and thank you for your hard work and those in whom you employ.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

lewis said...

If you get a chance, go to Dollywood. The musical "Christmas in the Smokies" is worth the price of admissions alone. The Thunderhead roller coaster is a fun ride, as is the Mystery Mine. And there will be no one there on Sunday. Stay late as the lights are beautiful.

Robert said...

Jennifer,I wish you and yours an amazing Christmas down here with us in the south. You may be sorry that you have to go back....

Thank you for the tributes as well. You have already read my Christmas piece, and I think it is scheduled for Monday, but the men and women of our military make more sacrifices than can ever be known. In peacetime and in war, they give more than an average person could possibly understand. In this time of extended deployments and constant combat stress, these men and women are the finest our nation offers, and it is fitting that we honor their gifts to us this time of year.

Godpseed in your travels....

TAO said...

Jenn, enjoy Pigeon Forge...my parents moved there many years ago and I got to watch the place develop. My mother moved after my father died...its a great place. The city planted a tree to my father in Patriot Park.

Definitely go to Dollywood and Gatlinburg...but also enjoy a Christmas drive through the park and mountains...especially Cades Cove.

Robert, lets not forget that our military is made up of "average persons" doing extraordinary service. My Father retired a sergeant major when I was 17and like he said, it was like being newlyweds with five kids!

He went on to become a great "average person." Once I finally figured out that his bark was worse than his bite, which didn't happen till I was a little older than 17 he was not only a great soldier, a great citizen, but also a great friend and father.

He was just an average guy who did extraordinary things in every phase of his life.

Admin said...

The men and women who volunteer to put their lives on the line so that we may sleep well at night ought to be thanked every day of the year. The fact of the matter is that the right to self-determination must be defended with absolute vigilance at all times, and the folks in uniform are the first line of defense. Merry Christmas from the staff at Age of Pericles, and a happy new year.


Anonymous said...

Thank you TAO, Ken, Lewis, Robert, and admin very much for your comments. I will be sure to look into them all,and I'll post about them when I get home.

TAO...I have no problem with your post at all. In fact I am very happy that you included everyone in your post that you did. Mine just took a certain angle but we should be remembering everyone this season.

Have a Very Merry Christmas

Joe said...

Jennifer: I agree with your agreement with TAO. I must say, though, that taking civil risks and making civil sacrifices does not quite compare with the risks and sacrifice our soldiers are making.

Merry Christmas! See you when I get back!

TAO said...

Sometimes I wonder if what is truthfully wrong with this country is that we do not dignify honest work anymore.

We do not respect a job well done.

Maybe if we quit belittling work and by default, those who work then maybe we might improve our society alittle bit.

I have worked since I was 12 and I think there is a "dignity" or a "sacrifice" involved in doing a job well....nowadays its enough to just show up.

Why don't people care anymore?

I have always believed that your job and how you do it is a reflection of you. Now, that attitude is called "anal."

There are three Krogers grocery stores in town and I will drive to the one that is the furthest from my home because it is obviously well managed and the staff cares. It is cleaner and better organized...at all times.

I just believe that we actually have belittled work and the value of doing a good job; of going above and beyond the standard.

Think, all of us expect bad service nowadays and we seem to take rudeness for granted...I bet we remember good service alot longer than we remember bad because we have come to expect the bad.

When was the last time you complained about something? Probably been awhile...because it doesn't seem to make a difference anymore and "badness" seems to be the norm.

I grew up in the military and I remember being a military family in the 70's...trust me the military was shit back then. The pay, the benefits, the support...and I remember quite a few times having to "defend" what my Dad did...

I am glad to see the term "honor" come back into our vocabulary...I just think we need to broaden the concept to include more people and maybe the concept will catch on...

There is honor is doing a good job; no matter what the job is. There is honor in doing the right thing; but it might not pay your bills.

I just believe that we could show our soldiers that we respect and understand by living our own lives in the same manner.

It is also the biggest reason I believe our economy is such a mess is because we actually believe that honor, sacrifice, and doing the right thing are for soldiers and for suckers.

Truthfully, our soldiers are just average people; they are us. If you believe that they are people of a higher caliber then when they come home and go back to work for our companies then why do we not respect their efforts and dedication then?

They are one and the same.

Brooke said...

What an excellent, excellent post.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Joe and Brooke....Have a very Merry Christmas!

rockync said...

Jenn, I hope you all enjoy your Smoky Mountain Christmas. You can stand at the top of the hill on Christmas morning, face east and holler a Christmas hello to me as I'm over on the NC side and I'll give you a shout.
(That's why the depression between two mountains is called a holler!)
I wish you and yours a joyous Christmas! Rocky

CB said...

Merry Christmas Jenn!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rocky! I will be sure to give you a holler! You might hear me anyway, considering how loud this cabin is....LOL


Thank you CB, Have a very Merry Christmas too!

Gayle said...

Jennifer, it's a beautiful post and that first video is wonderful. I don't know about the other two, because for some reason the first video didn't turn off when it ended. It just began playing over again, but I liked it, so that's okay.

Merry Christmas, hon.

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