Babbs in the Woods: Merry Christmas, USA

Merry Christmas, USA. From our family to yours. We give you our Baby Boy, our youngest son, our treasure.

Last Saturday, our Baby Boy took the oath of office, administered by his father, and became a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Army. This is the boy who always wanted to be outside more than inside. Who hustled to get his tests done and turned in first. Who refused to read by himself and preferred to roll around on the floor while his father read him Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn or Tom Swift’s adventures in the living room every night. And then, one night, he took a book and went to bed and there was no turning back. An insatiable reader, especially of books about war, warfare, warriors, etc. I think you see where it’s going …

We had the talk with him a few years ago, about how we thought he should take his shooting savvy, his outdoor skills and leadership ability and get a college degree while he trained to be an officer in the Army, instead of enlisting immediately. (His father and I both went back to college after having a family and other responsibilities and it is not an easy task.) He listened and only agreed somewhat, then got a scholarship and stuck it out, got a mining engineering degree and trained to be a soldier.

Here's Alec Baird, leading the pack at an ROTC Veterans Day Salute. He belonged to the Army ROTC Stonehenge Battallion at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Photo by Jason Baird.

When it came for his turn in the ceremony to address the packed room, he took a deep breath and spoke to us – as family, friends, comrades and I knew at that point we all had come to this place together. It was as if a 35-year-old officer was addressing the room: with poise and distinction. He thanked all of us and told us he’d wanted this moment for many years.

First year in training. Alec Baird.

It was at that time that I let him go in my heart. And now, he’s yours, too. Merry Christmas, America, and may you enjoy your freedoms because one percent of our sons and daughters feel the call to serve.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at


The Conversation

  • Nancy Jo Adams says: December 28, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Outstanding! So appreciative to the military and to Alec. Thank you for sharing this with us. And congratulations for raising such an awesome son.

  • Sue Jarrett says: December 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

    What a proud Mom and Dad and with great reason to be! Very smart having Baby Boy finish college first. Now he’s an officer who learned all the NCO stuff while growing up — makes him twice as good! Best wishes, Sir!

  • Tammy says: December 21, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Dear Barb and Jason;

    Wow. What emotions. I too am looking forward to the day when our First Baby Girl takes her place as a commissioned officer. We are so proud and thank you and your son for giving us a wonderful Christmas present, a fine young man so that we may continue to have Christmas and many other freedoms.

    God Bless and Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

    PS. You all look fabulous!!!

    Tammy, David, and family

  • Beth says: December 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Thank you so much Barb! Happy Holidays to you and your family! God Bless!

  • Dawn Gribb says: December 21, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Barb, thank you for sharing with us such an emotional moment. We are all very proud of your son, and I thank him for his service. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  • Terri Lee Pocernich says: December 21, 2010 at 12:10 am

    And thanks to you and Jason for sharing him and raising him right!

  • Tammy Ballew says: December 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    You went straight to my heart with that one, Barb!

  • Kevin Paulson says: December 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Don’t we live in a great country…Thank you for raising a great leader and What an amazing story!!!!

  • Debby says: December 20, 2010 at 11:01 am

    How touching! Such a generous gift to us all. A heart felt thanks to your entire family for sharing him with us.

  • tracey says: December 20, 2010 at 10:38 am

    you made me cry! i don’t even have one baby yet but i already don’t want him/her to grow up!