With the Christmas parades beginning and holiday decorations lining our towns, it is certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas. For my family, Christmas means getting the whole family together to have good food, play games of tag in the yard, and generally, to just be together.

Unfortunately, there are military families across the country that won’t have the chance to be together this Christmas. The men and women currently deployed around the world will dutifully be standing watch on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day — and every other day of the year — to protect Americans like us.

Still, there are numerous ways to show support for the men and women of our Armed Forces. One way is to participate in ‘R.E.D. Friday.’ R.E.D. stands for Remembering Everyone Deployed. The initiative’s mission is to encourage an outward display of support for all of the service members defending our freedoms and protecting our country. Companies like Raytheon, who has a presence at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant and in Lawton, Fort Sill, and Oklahoma City, participate in company-wide R.E.D. Fridays. This Christmas season, consider organizing a R.E.D. Friday at your office or school.

Remembering those deployed shouldn’t end when they return home safely, as we must continue to remember the sacrifice of those who gave all. Another way to honor the service of our men and women in uniform is to participate in a veterans event in your area. This year, Wreaths Across America is coming to Claremore for the first time to lay Christmas wreaths on the graves of every veteran at Woodlawn Cemetery. There will also be a wreath laying at Fort Gibson National Cemetery and a ceremony at Oak Hill Cemetery in McAlester. All are encouraged to join the event by volunteering a few hours of their day celebrating the lives of American veterans. 

This Christmas season, I hope you’ll join me in remembering those who are deployed and the veterans who have served. My office has plans to hold our own R.E.D. Friday and participate in the Wreaths Across America in Washington, D.C.  After all, we owe our men and women in uniform for our silent nights. 

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