New Year’s Eve means something different to everyone. To some, it is the limitless potential of the start of a new day at the dawn of a fresh year. Others might spend some time to see the distance that they have come and how they have bettered themselves and helped others in the past 365 days. Others will stop and give thanks for their blessings and fortune, or make a quick call to their folks to simply say, “I love you.” Some will hop from party to party all night, while some will wake at 11:45p.m, watch the ball drop and kiss their loved ones or make a call at 12:01 before nodding off again. Others, however, have a different point of view. They are the ones serving others.

Our armed forces personnel stand guard and stay vigilant from outposts around the world, watching ships at sea, looking at radar screens for threats, standing post in countless locations and running the machinery of our national defense. Every service member engaged in our 24/7 national defense is focused on his immediate duty. We should recognize that their new year is different; it is a long night followed by a tired morning where they don’t need a hangover or cure from being tired from having fun, just a good day’s sleep. They know that although the calendar year has changed, their duty and service remains the same, that in just a few hours their new year will start with them once again going on duty to serve us all.

Our first responders, firefighters, police, EMTs and others, who keep us safe through their selfless devotion to public safety are to be thanked for their tireless efforts. These firefighters, officers, deputies and others may only have the squawking radio to keep them awake as they hope that too much celebrating will not direct them to yet another tragedy. We also have the nurses and medical technicians that tend to our loved ones, a class of devoted personnel who have a routine of care that they must attend to regardless of the day or time.

While the rest of the world goes wild with hugs and cheers, all of these people, the ones on duty after the stroke of midnight, just look over to their buddies or shipmates next to them and nod a quiet and sincere “Happy new year.” And that is that.

But to the rest of us, the ones in Times Square with the champagne and goofy “2014” glasses, the ones celebrating in parties large and small, please enjoy a safe and happy time. We at wish all a happy new year and a prosperous start to another chance at life, success and happiness.

To those Americans who stand post and quietly ensure that this great country is safe and protected from harm, we thank you especially for your service and wish you a safe and happy new year.

As we head into 2014, we also invite you to share your thoughts about our stories and what you would like to see and hear about, as well as share your stories of service.

Happy New Year from your friends at!

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