I've been doing a lot of sewing for Christmas and to keep myself company while I do it, I've been watching a DVD set of Bob Hope's USO Christmas tours in Vietnam. I always enjoyed watching Bob Hope's tours on TV back when they were originally aired and I miss them now that he's gone, so it's been enjoyable to see them again. Most of the time, I'm busy sewing so I'm just listening, not watching, but one thing stands out and I find myself putting my sewing down and stopping to watch. In the midst of all the humor, the pretty women singing and dancing and commentary on the war itself and the sacrifices the soldiers make, Bob Hope ends every show with the singing of Silent Night, inviting the soldiers to join in. That's when my hands become idle as I listen to thousands of men singing one of my favorite Christmas hymns. In the midst of everything they are living through, they come together in this one moment. I know that it's a Christian hymn and our military is made up of Christians, Jews, Muslims, agnostics and even atheists, but somehow, that moment still feels like a moment of unparalleled unity. Vietnam is a long time ago in a distant past most would like to forget, but our young men and women are still out there defending what so many of us take for granted, in places just as hostile and far from home as Vietnam was in the 60s. Right after they sing Silent Night, the tape ends with visits to the wounded men, and the price our young people have paid then and are still paying now is reinforced. On one tape, Bob Hope comments that the tour was finally headed home in a convoy of three planes: theirs with the USO troup, followed by one carrying the wounded, and lastly, by one bearing those who will never feel pain again. It's a sobering moment. I know that this year, as I kneel in a safe, warm church on Christmas Eve and hear the congregation join in the words of Silent Night, I'll be thinking of our soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors, coast guardsmen and reservists. I'll be thinking of how far they are from home and that they are there for me, preserving the freedom and the way of life I enjoy. I'll be thinking of their families who are missing them and of those who won't be coming home again. God Bless you all and thank you for your service.