This year#039;s wish list is for our troops and their families

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Dear Santa Claus - As you know, each year I use this column space to submit you my wish list.

It's not so much that I am cheap - I could scrounge up 37 cents to pay for a stamp - but I can kill two birds with one stone. I can write my annual letter to you and pass it off as a column. Really efficient, I think.

As you know, my wish lists in recent years have not been for personal gain. I haven't asked you for presents for some time now. I wouldn't know what to ask you for anyway. Heck, my wife asked me what I wanted the other day and nothing came to mind.

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I usually ask you for things that would benefit the city, the county and all communities within. While I still ask for Lawrence County to have a prosperous 2004, I have something else in mind this year.

Santa, I ask for protection for all of our American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are volunteers, putting themselves in harm's way for the betterment of our country and world. Their sacrifices have been plentiful.

I can't help but think that when I watch my children open presents Christmas morning, thousands of men and women serving in our armed forces will not have that privilege. In fact, some will miss the first Christmas of their children.

Whether you agree with the war or not, Santa, I ask you watch over them and return each and every one of them home safely - soon. Now that Saddam Hussein has been captured, I ask that you see to it that Iraq is stabilized and turned over to the Iraqi people in the very near future.

I ask that you help reassure the families of troops overseas that their son or daughter, brother or sister will be safe. Let them know you will do all in your power to return them home safely.

Please Santa, comfort those who have lost loved ones, fighting for our freedom and that of the Iraqi people. Even though their losses will cause wounds that will hurt for eternity, help them realize their loved ones' sacrifices were not made in vein. Also, let them know that we, as Americans, mourn with them.

I understand making all of this happen is not something you, alone, can accomplish. However, if you throw your weight around (and this is not a reference to your round belly), maybe you could help.

After all, you spread your cheer on one of the holiest days, so you have got to be on God's good side. Perhaps, a little prayer from you will do the trick.

Forever yours, Shawn.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445, extension 19 or via e-mail at shawn.