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Have a safe and merry Christmas

I sincerely hope that you and your families have a safe and merry Christmas holiday period and that you take the time to reflect that the true story of Christmas as the birth of Christ and what that birth means to all of us.

It is easy to become caught up in the busy times of Christmas, the exchange of presents and good food. Remembering the true reason for the Christmas season and reflecting on the birth and life of Christ makes Christmas special to me every year.

Since Christmas will be celebrated on Thursday this year, many people will continue the celebration through the weekend. The long weekend will give many people the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends.

Others, however, will be working during the holiday period. Every year, I pause to thank those people for their willingness to work, allowing others, like me, to enjoy the holiday.

Law enforcement officers, hospital and nursing home employees, E911 dispatchers, certain county and municipal employees who make sure our water systems function properly, newspaper delivery people, ambulance service employees, volunteer firemen on call, service men and women around the world and many others will be away from their families on Christmas protecting us and providing necessary services. I appreciate their willingness to serve us and for allowing me to be safe and comfortable on Christmas Day.

Many will be traveling over the next few days, and all of us who drive need to be more alert and careful during the busy holiday season. Remember it is important to obey all traffic rules and regulations and to plan your trips to allow sufficient time for rest stops.

Through Christmas Eve, Alabama State Troopers and other law enforcement officers will patrol highways under the “Take Back Our Highways” program. The emphasis of the program this week will be getting drunk drivers off the highways, but those of us who choose to speed will also have a good opportunity to see a flashing blue light in our rearview mirrors during the stepped up enforcement this week. The blue light normally indicates you will be sending in a fine to the court system. If you are foolish and drive after you have been drinking, the blue light in your mirror could mean you will be spending some of your Christmas holiday behind bars.

Stay at home if you can, drive carefully if you plan to be on the highways and enjoy the Christmas holiday.