By Kevin Tibbles, Correspondent, NBC News
As the holiday season quickly approaches, perhaps we should all pause briefly to think of those far from home serving their country. Think too of their wives, husbands, sons and daughters.
Christmas may find them in a strange, far-off land; or on a military base here at home, but away from family and loved ones.
It's quite likely a time of reflection, perhaps of loneliness, and thinking of sharing the season with those held dear.
Cue the giant FedEx trailers rumbling onto military bases stateside; or planes landing in the Middle East, Afghanistan or Guam. Their cargo is a precious one this time of year: thousands of Christmas trees donated by 450 tree farms across the United States.
All help put the spirit of the holidays front and center, in spite of circumstance.
This massive effort is organized by Trees for Troops, an organization that has given out more than 139,000 trees in the eight years they've been in existence -- with FedEx traveling more than 475,000 miles to deliver them.
For our service men and women, and for the families who in many ways serve right along with them, the simple gift of a tree means all the world. A lovely thank you and Merry Christmas from those who want want our soldiers to know they are not forgotten, even if they can't be home for the holidays.