Troops Gone for the Holidays

Many people look forward to the end of the year. Along with a much needed winter vacation, they look forward to spending the holidays with family and friends. But some people might not have that luxury, though.   

“My brother Ronnie [is] a Marine,” said Oxnard High School senior Miriam Herrejon, “He officially left for Japan [around] last October, so he wasn’t here last year and he won’t be here[for Christmas] this year either.”

Herrejon said, “It’s pretty tough on the family. We’re a small family, so its really obvious that he’s not there. I know his first Christmas was hard because he was kind of lonely, so it makes me happy that it will be easier on him, but I’m still pretty bummed that it’s gonna be hard on my mom and just that our little family is incomplete.”

Most military families face this same predicament. Sophomore Shawn Weatherwax said, “My dad used to be in the Navy Seabees and retired after twenty years. So basically most of my life I’ve been in a military family.”

Weatherwax, whose dad has been gone for the holidays before because he was deployed in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait, said, “He’s in the military, that’s what you gotta do…It just sketches me out because he’s going out to Afghanistan. I just kinda hope that he comes back safe.”

Junior Megan Richter has a similar situation. Her dad has worked for the Navy for more than twenty years and is often gone for long periods of time. Her and her family move frequently to keep up with her father’s job. Richter said, “ [It used to bother me] when I was younger, now it’s sort of my life, so I’m used to it.”

For junior Sarah McGraw, this is all new to her. She said, “My older brother, his name is John. He just recently went to boot camp for the Marines.”

“With him being gone for the holidays, it makes me sad knowing it’s the first year that we aren’t going to be a complete family,” said McGraw, “It’s a big deal because it just shows that we’re all growing up.”

Even though military families may face separation, they said that they are proud of their relatives. Herrejon said, “I’m proud[of my brother] under his circumstances of leaving. [Before he left], he wasn’t doing anything. Now that he’s in the military, he just has all this motivation and realistic plans, and he has money for these things. He’s responsible, he learned the value of everything, not just a dollar, but also his family since he’s so far away, so I’m really proud that he grew up within the Marine Corp.”