This week, we celebrated one of my favorite events of the year: we hosted a Christmas celebration for 2,600 military service men, women and their families, at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. This year was the 10th anniversary.

My wife Nada, my sons Michael and Peter, and our entire Simon Group Holdings and Atlas Care teams are happy and privileged to show our appreciation for our local military’s service. It was an amazing four hours. The joy was contagious. Lately it’s not often you’re in a room filled with hundreds of people all smiling! It felt good! From lunch, to seeing Santa, to dancing with their children, it was a great to watch countless memories being made, including those of my own family.

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Bowles and Staff Sgt. Kelly Bowles with their children . . . and Santa!

 No one should take our citizenship for granted – I don’t. My family and I have been allowed to live the American Dream, with our freedom protected. It’s a gift.

The next time you see military service men and women – at the airport – or out and about – give them your thanks. Let them know you’re grateful to live in this great country; that you don’t take your freedom for granted; and that they’re in your prayers. These selfless men and women are truly our country’s heroes.