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Wing commander's holiday message to reservists

  • Published
  • By Col. Matthew Fritz
  • 419th Fighter Wing commander

419th family:

Here’s wishing you and yours a happy holiday and all the best during this very special time of the year!

The spirit of this season is steeped in meaning, traditions, and often, reflection.

The well-known Christmas carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the midst of the Civil War in 1863. The words tell of the author’s utter despair upon hearing church bells ring out – a hopeful sound in a seemingly hopeless time.

The carol declares that “hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.” Yet it concludes with those same bells carrying renewed hope for peace as the bells rang out “more loud and deep.”

Before writing the poem, Longfellow had learned that his eldest son, Charles, was seriously wounded and paralyzed while fighting for the Union army. Just two years earlier, Longfellow’s wife, Fannie, had died suddenly in a freak accident. It was a cold, dark season for both Longfellow and for our nation.

Yet hope prevailed.

We’ve been through a lot this year and we’ve been dealt some unexpected blows. We remain in the midst of an unrelenting global pandemic and 2020 delivered plenty of unrest, discomfort, and uncertainty. I suspect many of you are feeling a bit tired.

As you celebrate the holidays and prepare to ring in 2021, I hope you will find time for reflection, rest, and renewal. Let’s honor the spirit of the season by connecting with those closest to us, taking care of each other, loving our neighbor, and looking forward to the good that lies ahead.

I hope this holiday season will be especially wonderful even if it looks different than in years past.

With sincere gratitude and appreciation.