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Staying strong through the season

People pose for photo.

U.S. Air Force chaplains Capt. James Moser and Capt. Lindsey Moser pose for a photograph inside the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania, with their son, James Stewart Moser. James “Jimmy” Stewart was an American actor who enlisted in the Army Air Forces. After fighting in the Second World War, he obtained the rank of colonel, and eventually promoted to brigadier general. He retired in 1968 and was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal. President Ronald Reagan would later promote Stewart to major general in the U.S. Air Force retired list. Chaplain James Moser was a military history consultant with the museum while they lived in Indiana from 2019-2020. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Lindsey Moser)

People pose for a photo.

U.S. Air Force chaplains Capt. James Moser and Capt. Lindsey Moser pose for a photograph inside the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania with their son, James Stewart Moser. This exhibit is Jimmy’s California Office, a recreation of Jimmy Stewart’s office from his home in California. The gallery includes Stewart’s desk, grandfather clock, his tweed hat, office memorabilia, family photos and letters from presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Lindsey Moser)

People pose next to a statue.

U.S. Air Force chaplains Captain James Moser and U.S. Air Force Captain Lindsey Moser pose for a photograph by a fiberglass statue of American actor Jimmy Stewart inside the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania with their son, James Stewart Moser. The real statue, made of bronze, stands next door in front of the Indiana County Court House. Both statues show Jimmy in his "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) suit. Jimmy Stewart portrayed the character of George Bailey in the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) — a movie about resilience, an individual’s worth and impact, and the importance of community. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Lindsey Moser)

INDIANA, Pa. --

In the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey — portrayed by actor Jimmy Stewart — finds himself in dire straits, praying on a bridge with snow falling. George Bailey was just told by the story’s villain — the scrooge, Mr. Potter — that, due to life insurance, he is worth more dead than alive. Suicidal, he encounters an angel who shows him what his community would have become if he had never existed.

 

James Maitland Stewart was an American actor and licensed amateur pilot who enlisted in the Army Air Forces. After fighting in the European theater of the Second World War, he obtained the rank of colonel and received several service awards. Stewart was eventually promoted to brigadier general. He retired in 1968 and was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal. President Ronald Reagan, also an actor who served with the Army Air Forces, would later promote Stewart to major general in the U.S. Air Force retired list.

 

Stewart’s first acting role after World War II was as George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” — a now holiday classic about resilience, an individual’s worth and impact, and the importance of community.

 

U.S. Air Force Capt. Lindsey N. Moser, a chaplain serving the Peterson-Schriever Garrison with a unique tie to Jimmy Stewart, spoke about how each and every Airmen or Guardian matters, and how the holiday season can be a difficult time.

 

“Everyone associates the holidays with family, but for a lot of military personnel that may not be part of their reality — and that adjustment can be difficult,” said Moser. “Making a point to see family is important, but taking leave is not always an option. I encourage people to take leave and deal with awkward conversations over dinner or the handmade socks from Aunt Betty because it's worth it. If you can't be near, consider a video call or exchange care packages with loved ones that you're geographically separated from.”

 

Moser and her husband have a special connection to Stewart.

 

“Our son was born in Jimmy Stewart's hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania — in the hospital just down the road from Stewart’s childhood home,” said Moser. “We named him James Stewart Moser, and we call him Jimmy. The first time we really took him out in public was to the Jimmy Stewart museum, and we got pictures of him by some of the statues.”

 

Additionally, Moser’s husband was a military consultant for the museum. He put together an updated display of Stewart's medals and donated it to the museum.

 

“We still keep ties and continue to find ways to honor Jimmy Stewart for his years of service in the Air Force — Jimmy Stewart was a great person both on and off the silver screen,” said Moser.

 

George Bailey was given a miraculous opportunity to see how he positively affected his American community. You — Airmen and Guardians — make much more of a positive difference than you may realize. Consider the themes of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and remember: You matter.

 

Guardians and Airmen from the Peterson-Schriever Garrison offer advice to others on how they stay strong and resilient during the holiday season — making Wingman their family, staying in touch with loved ones afar, and taking care of both body and mind.

 

U.S. Space Force Capt. Juan Trujillo, 1st Space Operations Squadron crew commander is on a six-month deployment at Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, working as a staff officer for the director of Space Forces Central. Trujillo stresses the importance of cultivating community.

 

“I work with a great team. We’ve formed a great camaraderie,” said Trujillo. “Despite a lot of changeover in a deployed environment, I think of them as a family away from home. Although, technology has made it so I’m in touch with family — and able keep up with their progress, activities and successes. I like to think I'm still there with them despite a nine-hour difference.”

 

Senior Airman Christopher Thao, 50th Communications Squadron network operations technician, is deployed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and speaks to the merit of seeing the value of yourself and others.

 

“Our mission is to help assist the Afghanistan refugees assimilate into the U.S. — we also provide humanitarian aid,” said Thao. “To keep my spirits up, I try to explore and experience new things with the new people and teams I’ve met here. Sparking conversations about backgrounds, goals and history makes this whole experience worth it.”

 

Additionally, Thao maintains emotional resilience with physical resilience, going to the gym nearly every day.

 

“I think physical, spiritual and emotional resilience tie together,” said Thao. “On my days off I try to go have fun and relax. Go out do something you’ve never seen, eaten, or done before! It’ll break your own rut that you’re currently in.”

 

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kaylah Williams, Peterson-Schriever Garrison Chapel religious affairs journeyman stressed having trustworthy, nonjudgmental people in your life as paramount, echoing Trujillo.

 

“It’s so important to have people who allow you to let your guard down and spill how you’re truly feeling,” said Williams. “Create a family within your area to enjoy the holidays with. I recommend a holiday gathering with other Airmen and Guardians from various units to create a family away from home.”

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