14th Day: Blue Christmas

  On the fourteenth day, we did some small gestures for those who sacrifice so much for us.
  Marshall has grown up always knowing every officer of his hometown, seeing the uniforms in his dad’s closet, having his dad miss holidays and school events.  He knows more about the sacrifices and the hard work police put in day in and day out than most children- even more than some adults.  He’s also been around the fire trucks of the firefighters and seen his grandpa’s photographs from his time in the Marine Corp.  It was our turn to give back to these people, to show our deep appreciation for our heroes.

  We started the morning off with explaining to Marshall about our troops.  That there are some overseas making sure that some very bad men don’t come here.  Equating it like batman and his villains.  Sometimes these troops get hurt and they end up in hospitals and can’t be with family for the holidays.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they knew we remembered them this holiday season?  Wouldn’t it be nice if they knew we appreciated them?  We bought a large pack of holiday cards and Marshall went to work with decorating them with all the care a four year old can muster.
At his desk in the corner of his room, in northern Minnesota, a little boy works hard trying to bring happiness to people he doesn’t know during the holidays.

 

He would tell me every detail as he drew it.  He drew cookies since he wanted to share his favorite treat, he drew pictures of his Auntie since he misses her and thought the troops probably miss some of their family too- so many adorable little drawings and hand tracings went in the cards.

 

  He poured over these cards for a very long time- much more than I have ever seen a child his age do.  He was determined to make as many as he could  for the sick or injured troops, the troops still fighting overseas, and the veterans.  We also included Violet, stamping her little foot or hand and writing her name, age, and a little saying like “thanks for protecting the soil I will one day walk on” or “thanks for having a hand in keeping me safe”.
  Marshall picked out three cards at the beginning.  One for our local fire department and one for our local police department.  And the third, the third hit close to home.  The third was for a northern Minnesota Sheriffs Department, one that is not too far from us in location and in heart.  This department lost a deputy, a woman lost her husband, and a daughter lost her dad.  We wanted the department to know that we remember.  This detective mattered- he should be with them still but because of one awful man- there is a hurt family and department.
In the Sheriffs Department’s card both kids left handprints
He was so excited to drop off the mail for the troops and fallen Deputy, but he fell asleep
before he could drop it at the post office
  We sent the card to the Sheriffs Department and we put all the cards for the troops and veterans in a big envelope and sent it to our local Red Cross.  If you are interested in sending Christmas cards to our men and women in uniform, please look up your local Red Cross!  Cards must be sent, unsealed in individual envelopes, to them and then they distribute them.
Some of the guidelines for Holiday Mail for Heroes

 

  After we dropped off the cards at the post office, we started on showing our appreciation for our local firefighters and law enforcement by making thin red line (fire) Christmas cookies and thin blue line (police) Christmas cookies to deliver!
(Quick note: in these times, it may be better to buy store-made and sealed treats.  While agencies always appreciate the sentiment and thought, it is not always safe to consume goods from those they are not familiar with.  We know our fire & police departments well, due to Brad working with them, so we were able to go the homemade route.)
  The thin blue line is the symbol of law enforcement; they are the thin line between us and those that wish us harm and ill will.  The fire departments played off of this and made the thin red line to represent themselves and their fallen.  Dispatch even has their own with the thin gold line.
Marshall was such a pro! He rolled out the dough, cut with cookie cutters, and then balled the scraps
up and started over with the rolling all over again- 100% by himself!  He is such a big boy.

 

Cutting each cookie with care

 

“You push it down and then wiggle, wiggle, wiggle the cutter!”

 

Marshall made and baked 3 dozen Christmas cookies for our local fire department
and police department
  To honor them, we made these cookies.  We hope when they are away from their families- missing their child’s Christmas concert, their spouse’s Christmas party . . . or even missing the holiday all together, we hope they know that they are appreciated and that we care.  They are not alone in spirit.
Thin line Christmas cookies

 

  Due to the drying time of royal icing, we won’t be able to deliver the goodies until tomorrow.
  We ended the night with a very solemn remembrance.  We lit 118 candles.  One for each officer that won’t be with their families this Christmas.  118 men & women of the thin blue line gave their life on duty.  Roughly (not all memorials were complete) 70 spouses- 3 of which were pregnant- 174 children, and 9 grandchildren are left without their husband/wife, father/mother, grandfather/grandmother this holiday season.  Some children were merely weeks old when their parent was taken from them.
118 candles, 118 lives
  We remember you and we read each one of your stories.  You are in our hearts, you are on our minds, and we will never forget.  We appreciate the men & women in uniform and we thank their spouses and children for being the families behind the badge.  Thank you for sharing your hero with us.  Thank you for giving your life for us.
  The fourteenth day was about giving just the littlest amount in comparison to how much the men and women in uniform- be that a police uniform, fire gear, or military fatigues- give for us.  We hope the cards and cookies find those who are weary or need to know they are appreciated.  It is our hope that those who have had family taken from them can find healing and peace; know that your family member’s sacrifice did not go unnoticed and are not forgotten.  We wish “peace on earth and goodwill to man” this Christmas.  May next Christmas find no candle in memorial of a person taken too soon.
*The candles were done in a controlled environment, lit very shortly, and there was a fire extinguisher present.  We originally intended to have it lit lining our driveway but it was too windy.  Please always be very cautious with candles in your home.


**Statistics and stories of the fallen officers can be found at Officer Down Memorial Page.  I encourage you to take the time to look at their faces and learn their stories- maybe even make a donation or buy something from the ODMP shop if you can.
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