As we celebrate the season, please take a moment to remember our Veterans who protect us and provide a safer environment in which to spend time with Family and Friends this year and every year. Remember, this is what they do without asking for anything in return. Many of you reading this understand and you have first-hand knowledge of this topic. But what about those around you this holiday season?

As we travel to our destinations, please make it a point to recognize those in uniform — easily identified by their duffle bags, uniforms, or camouflage backpacks. Please thank them! Remember, this is their time to re-connect with Family or Friends and it's okay to let a Veteran board first and it's okay to let them get off the plane before you too. Maybe those in the know can help encourage those who dont understand this act of kindness.

As we walk through the malls and other retail outlets, you might find some Veterans or Military Spouses wearing something that provides clues as to their association with the military. A smile never hurts. Small talk can provide a chance for you to learn more about each other too.

As we eat, drink, and be merry, let us not forget that we still have people who call the street home. Many of these people are Veterans. Maybe you can cook or buy a meal and give it to someone you see struggling. And remember this — many of our Servicemembers will be eating Meals Ready To Eat (MREs) or eating a special meal in the company of their fellow Men & Women in Arms while deployed.

As we spend time with those we love and those we wish we could love more, let's try to be kind and say something nice to all. Maybe our kindness will open up a new dialogue that dispels the myths and perceptions we once had about that person. Let's put aside our differences and focus on how we can agree. Let's respect each other in our own individual opinions. Let's try to understand more before trying to be understood.

As we reflect on all that has happened over the past year, let's be thankful. We all know that 2012 provided many events to remind us that gratitude, thankfulness, and humility is something we should pay closer attention to.

As we spend time around those close to us, let's make it a point to tell them how important they are in your life.

Remember, this might be the last opportunity to make an impact on someone else's life. Remember, this life we have is short and we never know when our last day comes. Remember, this is the only life we've got and we need to make it count. Please remember this and anything else that prompts you to reflect and remember the important things in life and the people who make life worth living!