No matter how difficult the year has been, at least we get to close it out with some holiday cheer. For the families of those currently deployed in service to our nation, it may be particularly challenging to rustle up much cheer at all.

So let’s all help them get started. Instead of that old (and potentially triggering) “White Christmas” we’d like to suggest everyone have a RED Christmas. And since Christmas falls on a Friday this year, it’s a perfect coincidence.

Somewhere around 2005 or 2006, military family members, friends and supporters of the troops started wearing a red article of clothing every Friday to “Remember Everyone Deployed” – RED.

No one knows exactly how it began, but some sources say it was because of a chain email that suggested everyone wear red on Friday to show support for those deployed:

Make our troops know there are many people thinking of their well-being. You will feel better all day Friday when you wear RED!

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE. FOR US, THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED!! GOD BLESS AMERICA.

The trend even spread to Canada, and in the spring of 2006, Lisa Miller and Karen Boire, wives of two Canadian servicemen, started their own “wear red on Fridays to show support for the troops” effort. It was so popular that on September 23, 2006, thousands clad in red attended a rally led by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill.

Now fast forward to today. According to current US Department of Defense stats, there are more than 160,000 active-duty U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States and its territories, across more than 170 countries. While there is a great tradition of Christmas celebration in the military, it can never replace the in person celebration with family and friends.

It’s even possible to celebrate Christmas among enemies. On Christmas Eve in 1914 five months after the start of World War I, troops on both the British and German sides began singing Christmas carols to each other. The sounds of guns and cannons faded along the Western Front in Belgium and were replaced by cautious holiday celebration, in the trenches.

According to History.com. At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. Some Germans lit Christmas trees around their trenches, and there was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

Could something like this ever happen again? We can hope.

Thousands of troops are still on active combat deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. We pray they will have a safe and peaceful Christmas this year, even as war rages.

And we will wear RED in their honor.

After all, even Santa will.

 

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