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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

A Time of Tradition

December 20, 2013
Weekly Columns

December is a time of family traditions, holiday celebrations and generosity. During the last month on our calendar, it’s easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas parties, gift shopping and other commitments. But as we reach the height of the holiday season this week, I encourage you to stop for just a moment and reflect on all the great gifts we have received as individuals and as a nation.

This year, I’m reminded of a very different Christmas, just five months after the colonists broke away from Great Britain to form the United States of America. As we remember, signing the historical Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, immediately launched the 13 colonies into war with the British crown. Tested by the trials of war and defeat, it was on this Christmas that General George Washington led the Continental Army to a critical victory at Trenton, New Jersey that altered the course of the war. Leading hundreds of soldiers across the icy waters of the Delaware River to surprise the opposition, this win boosted American morale when it was needed most, reminding the colonists that independence was not an empty cause or out of reach.

Today, our hard-fought freedom is still treasured and our liberty still precious, inspiring thousands to volunteer their service and risk their lives to serve in our military. They know the true meaning of sacrifice, especially during the holidays when many are away from their families and loved ones. Join me in thinking of our troops overseas, praying for their safety and supporting their families here at home.

We are blessed to live in country where gifts abound and blessings are numerous. As we celebrate the greatest gift of all this year, I encourage you to slow down and not miss the meaning of the season.