In Germany presents are traditionally exchanged between family members on Christmas Eve, and in Bruch we always began the evening with Christmas hymns – and here my father-in-law plays the recorder or English flute while my wife accompanies him on the piano.
The rest of us sang along with the German Christmas hyms – well me sort of; and David could hardly hold his excitement until we finished singing the songs – here holding hands with his aunt and grandmother.
From my experience, traditional German Christmas trees are a lot less decorated and commercialized than the American versions – but of course every household is different and has its own decorating style.
This Christmas was special to me because I knew that in only days I could deploy to the Gulf – and once notified we would quickly be on our way.
So this was really a Christmas to enjoy all of those little details about family and events that might have been easily overlooked during different times.
Of course David was the center of everyone’s attention – as all young children are at Christmas time – and here he opens a present on the living room floor.
David’s biggest surprise was a huge box that was suddenly there with his name on it, and he eagerly tore into the wrapping paper with high expectations.
With both hands David struggles to lift a trailer for his new tractor out of the tall box – but he was determined to get it out – one way or another.
Examining every square inch of his new tractor with keen eyes for all the details, David reacts as all children do at Christmas time – displaying pure joy at each and every new discovery he finds.
With his Opa steadying him to prevent an accident, David sits in his new trailer in the living room – trying it out for size.
David’s uncle helps him put all of the final pieces together on the new tractor, with both of them focused on ensuring that everything goes together correctly.
Trying his new tractor on for size, David gets ready to ride as his uncle makes sure the steering wheel and front wheels are properly connected.
One of David’s great-grandmothers looks over a present that she received, fully appreciating the nice basket and festive wrapping.
I captured David in this picture in an unexpected moment as his attention was caught by the camera in a moment of confidence – as a young man ready to take on the world.
I deployed to the Gulf on December 30, 1990, leaving Hahn AB on a C-141 to join up with the squadron, and here David is a young boy again later that same evening after I deployed, and seems to be a little dazed as his great-great-aunt consoles him in this picture (my Gulf War photos are in Hahn AB, Set One).