We all associate the holidays with times of joy and celebration with our families, and most of us have made plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend and the holiday season.

It's a different story for many of our neighbors who have immediate members of their family, who are deployed across the country or in other parts of the world.

While we're planning on what to bring to our holiday gatherings, the families of deployed military are sending care packages, and spending the holiday season with a part of their immediate family missing.

I remember my days as a sonar operator in the Navy, being deployed 3000 miles from my home during the holiday season, it was the first time in my 18 years that I was not going to wake up and smell the turkey, see my parents, siblings, and other family that have always been such a big part of my holiday memories.

There were some of the guys in our division that would have their wives and children living off base, some of us would be invited to have dinner with them.

I also remember getting a roll of quarters for the pay phone, and calling my mom, she would pass the phone to other family members, and I would wish that I was there at that moment.

Spending time with family and close friends during the holiday is a true blessing, and sometimes we take it for granted.

Many people support organizations that reach out to members of our military, who are spending the holidays miles from their loved ones and send them gifts or letters of encouragement.

If you’re interested in supporting our troops during the holidays there are several organizations that could us your help.

Here is the Support Our Troops link HERE