The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Pentagon worker: Christmas will mean more

On Sept. 11, Greg Bozek had just returned to his desk after watching the World Trade Center attack on television. The retired Army officer turned civilian contractor works at the Pentagon, as does his brother.

That's when he heard an explosion.

"The room moved, as if something had knocked us off our foundation," Bozek recalled. "The fire lit up the window with an orange-greenish glow."

Once outside, Bozek realized that the plane had hit near his brother's office. "My biggest concerns were my brother and what my kids were going to hear in school," said Bozek whose children are Jake, 15, Mickey, 12, and Denise, 6. "I was terribly upset."

All he could do was watch and worry — and pray. "I think everybody said prayers for strength and safety. I would venture to say that there were thousands of silent prayers going on out there," said Bozek, a member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Fairfax, Va.

Hours later, the authorities told everyone to go home. Then, six hours after the attack, Bozek heard that his brother was safe.

Bozek's experiences strengthen his commitment to his family. "Because of the separation that military families endure all the time, Christmas is something that we have always cherished and been protective of," he said. "This time, we'll have all the more meaning."

With at least one friend deployed near Afghanistan, the Bozeks will reach out to what they consider their extended family — military families. "[Christmas is] a time of joy, but we'll also have tremendous concern for our friends and for the people we don't know who are serving our country because they are in harm's way to allow us to return to the freedom that we enjoy," Bozek said. "Hopefully we will never take it for granted."


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