Christmas Overseas: Celebrating the Holidays While Deployed

The following is an article written originally on December 26th, 2000 by Senator Frank LaRose while he was serving in Kosovo. This article is one in a series of columns that Senator LaRose did for his hometown newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal, explaining what life was like while overseas. 



We hear the Christmas story every year, but this year as I celebrate Christ’s birth in Kosovo, the verses had special meaning.

The thought occurred to me early this morning, about 4 a.m. I was on routine patrol. I was driving the outer perimeter of Camp Bondsteel to assure the fence was intact and there were no intruders. It was cold, dark and somewhat lonesome.

I thought of the shepherds, in a similar situation as I was in. Their profession required them to be out in the cold dark night, as does mine. Even in the dreary circumstances, the news the angels brought made the shepherds joyous. The good news of Christ’s brith still brings joy to men who are cold and lonesome, out in a field on Christmas Eve.

We have had an enjoyable Christmas. There was a candlelight Christmas Eve service. Seated behind me last night were some German soldiers, who sang the carols in German. It was an interesting sound, different languages but the same spirit. The mess hall prepared a special meal, and we all did our best to observe Christmas.

I missed being with my family and friends. But if I have to be away for Christmas, I can’t think of a better reason than keeping the peace in a war-torn part of the world.

Sgt. Frank LaRose Jr.

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