Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Merry Christmas--VA Style...
The lobby, where the huge tree stands, appeared close to empty. No one had turned on the news channel yet. People were sitting in silent clusters as they waited for a loved one or an appointment. The aroma of coffee filled the air. Since it was a cloudy day, the sky lights added to the darkness in the lobby. All I had on my mind was coffee and the tree. I could have sworn yesterday when I saw this tree it was lit up. I walked around the tree twice trying to find the connections for the lights. I couldn't find anything. I strolled up to the front desk and asked the three men sitting there, "How do I turn on that beautiful Marine tree?" That, my friends, is when the place lit up!! They all started laughing. The man closest to me said,"What makes you think that is a 'Marine' tree?? I don't see a Marine here. I am Air Force, he is Army and my buddy over there is Navy. Do you see a Marine in here???" I knew I had already stepped in it so I was ready to have some fun. I said."I married a Marine. Looks like a Marine tree to me!!" They all started laughing and talking at once. I could have sworn one of them said, "We make the Marines wait outside!" He told me to go plug up the tree. I told him there was no place to plug it up. I had already looked. He was still laughing when he said, "Do you want me to walk back there and fix the 'Marine' tree for you?" I said, "Or you could fly since you are 'Air Force". He laughed at my smart ass response and got up to go with me to the tree. The men behind me were still talking and laughing at us. When we reached the tree, he couldn't find a way to plug it up. Finally, from behind the tree, someone said, "It doesn't light up." I told him I could have sworn it was lit up the other day. He said the sun was probably shining and that made it look like it was lit up. He also mentioned the tree did not have lights. The Air Force man and I laughed, shook hands and went our separate ways. I thanked him for his service. As he walked back up front, I heard him mutter and laugh again, "Marine tree".
As I sat down, I began to study the tree. It is made of red, white and blue sparkly leaves mixed in with the greenery of the tree, to symbolize our flag. Purple hearts are the only decorations on the bottom two thirds of the tree. They symbolize bravery, sacrifice and often death and honor. The top part of the tree is decorated with white stars. The angel on top of the tree is a soldier encased in white wings. This tree made me stop and think about all the young men and women who won't be home for Christmas. Some are serving at their duty stations waiting for orders to go somewhere else. Some will never make it home alive. As always, when I go to the VA, I get a sense of pride and I am thankful once again that I married a Marine and shared his last two years of duty. We made memories to last a lifetime.
My prayer for the United States is for peace. I know that is an impossibility. Every day the news gets worse. Peace on Earth is an illusion this year...but a good illusion indeed.