Air Force's top chief sends holiday message

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The following is a holiday message from Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald R. Murray:

"To the Air Force men and women protecting our nation at home and abroad: My wife, Sherry, and I want to wish each of you the joy and peace of the season.

"The demands of the past year have been great, and you have all made many sacrifices. Those sacrifices and your daily contributions to protect our nation are truly a gift to America. That gift keeps our nation strong and free. Thank you for your service.

"I encourage you to take the time during this season to cherish those dear to you -- family, friends and loved ones. If you're deployed, reach out to those around you and take care of each other, just as your units are caring for your families at home stations.

"As you celebrate, do so responsibly and safely. We have many challenges ahead in the new year, and we need each one of you to meet them.

"Thank you again for your service, and may God bless you, your loved ones, and our great nation."