Holidays Overseas- A Veteran’s Perspective

By December 20, 2018 In the News
Dear Friends,
Let’s face it, the holidays are busy and stressful. Over the next few weeks, we’ll all balance Christmas lists, holiday parties, along with our daily routines. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays let’s not forget that over 170,000 U.S. Service Members will spend the holidays away from the ones they love.


I talk to people about my experiences overseas people often focus on the holidays; how hard it must have been to miss a Christmas or two (or more). The truth is, as a Veteran some of my favorite holiday memories occurred while I was away. Thanksgiving 2006, I was in a small firebase in a remote part of Afghanistan and weather delayed the delivery of our “hot” meal and so the Afghan governor invited us into his home and prepared a hot meal for us, much like the Native Americans did for the early settlers. Christmas of the same year we gathered for an omni-denominational mass in our plywood chapel, we sang about peace while carrying the instruments of war. We rang in the lunar new year by sharing a meal with our Afghan Army partners complete with traditional music and dancing.


All of us who serve have two families, those at home, and those with whom we serve. When either need us we do not hesitate. Holidays overseas are just holidays with our other family. Probably not the preferred venue, but I certainly wouldn’t trade that time with my military family for anything. When we leave the Military, it can feel like we are leaving that family, we lose a part of ourselves – and it can be confusing, and lonely. I am very thankful for the fact that our Care Coodinators at Easterseals Maine are able to become part of that family for Veterans in out community, helping to ease the transition to civilian life.


We can’t do this without you. Veterans Count was founded to support the families of our deployed service members. The program has evolved to meet the needs of our Veterans, Service Members, and their families. Please go to to learn how you can support our life saving programs. I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season.


Joe Reagan
Senior Director of Development
Easterseals Maine
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