I look forward to this day every year. I get a quick email in my inbox a week ahead of time. A quick note to let me know to get ready. I look forward to this email, and make grand plans. This year, I am going to go all out! Most years, I forget my original plans in the hustle and bustle of everyday. A quick cash donation, whatever I have in my wallet. A trip to the ATM and a bagel to make change. Even if I forget my original plans, I am still pleased to help.
I look forward to this day every year: the day the Marines will be at Union Station, collecting toys for children in need.
I posted last year about the overwhelming generosity of my fellow commuters. Over $25,000 raised in a single day. This year, the Marines will be collecting for two full days. I can't begin to imagine the difference they will make in the lives of children this year.
When I read the reminder email this year, I made my usual grand plans to actually buy a toy. And then I worried I would forget again. So I went to the ATM in advance to have my cash ready. Then I remembered: they sell toys at the grocery store. I go to the grocery store every week. I added "TOYS FOR TOTS" in big letters on my shopping list.
This year, I was prepared. I had my Cars action figures in hand, ready to give to a smiling Marine. And then I saw the first Marine, just as I stepped off the train, a bucket in hand to collect cash. I saw another. And another. The platform filled with smiling, uniformed (hot) Marines, ringing bells, singing carols, smiling and welcoming the charity of commuters. This year, I was prepared with my toys. But I was not emotionally prepared. I burst into tears as I handed my toys over to the young man who has devoted his life to protecting mine.
Last year I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my fellow commuters. This year I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the young men and women in our armed forces. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!