submitted by: Rhonda Tharpe

My boyfriend is a member of the Air Force Reserves who was deployed overseas for active military duty following the events of 9/11.  Knowing we would not be able to share Christmas together, I purchased a small artificial tree and trimmed it with red lights, red, white and blue ornaments and garlands of blue and silver stars and placed another large silver star on top.

I covered the remaining areas of the tree with many small American Flags and covered the base with a stars and stripes fabric.  I wrapped my boyfriend’s gifts with patriotic wrapping paper and placed them underneath the tree.

When the tree was completed, I took photographs and e-mailed them to him as well as including copies in his Christmas care package.  Both the e-mail and a card in the care package told him the tree would stay up until he returned home.  I also told him that every time I look at the tree I am reminded of how proud I am of him for being the kind of man to willingly serve his country so that we Americans can have the freedom to celebrate.