Seniors send bit of Christmas joy to troops overseas

Betty Singell, center, and Cynthia Conklin, right, worked for days under the instruction of Marge Bates, left, as they hand made each ornament that adorned the trees.

The joys of Christmas are overshadowed by the intense heat, noise, exhaustion and anxiety experienced by our troops stationed in the Middle East. Separated from family and friends, our service personnel may find the holidays the loneliest time of their tour of duty. Surrounded by the unfamiliar, our troops must look for ways to adjust to a foreign lifestyle. How they must long for the comfort and certainty of home.

Thanks to the efforts of the West Shore Senior Center's Craft Club, thirty-six members of our armed forces will have their holiday season brightened by eighteen-inch Christmas trees decorated with handcrafted ornaments in shades of red, white and blue. A tiny dove sits on the top of on the tree, symbolizing the peace which our troops hope to achieve in these places so far from home.

I can't imagine living in a military zone, surrounded by suspicion, hostility and fear. I believe any reminder of home cheers the hearts of those who defend our country from the grasp of tyrants and terrorists. What losses our military personnel must suffer. What stress they must feel. Surely nothing can take away the horror of the situation, but each little reminder of home, especially during this time of the year, must bring some joy to the hearts of these brave men and women.

Here is a poem composed by Joanne Rubino, member of the West Shore Senior Center Craft Club, which sums up the meaning of the little Christmas trees:

These trees were made by grams and moms
with lots of love and pride.
We've loved ones from our families
fighting right there by your sides.
Our prayers and wishes go out to you,
to each and every one.
May blessings shower down on you
until your duty's done.
We long to have you all back home
with families once again,
but here’s a little Christmas joy
To cheer you until then.

Thanks to all the clubs, groups and individuals who donated their time and talents to the Christmas tree project and to Pat Catan's for donating so many trees. We can really never repay the men and women of our Armed Forces for what they do for us on a daily basis. At least remembering them with a card or a letter will let them know we care. Support the USO, support our troops and have a wonderful holiday season.

Dianne Borowski

Dianne Borowski lives in Bay Village.

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Volume 3, Issue 25, Posted 2:44 PM, 12.13.2011