THE HOLIDAY SEASON
I finally get a break from the shopping! We have been running around every mall crowded people everywhere trying to find that particular gift. This place is really crowded. Now we are finished, can we relax now? Are we done shopping for the day? If I have to play lead blocker through the mall anymore or sit outside another dressing room Im gonna die. No puke, no puke then die. We will probably go out to dinner tonight get some chow maybe go for a walk. I sit here and can smell the new Christmas tree, so fresh and nice, with white lights and all kinds of cherished ornaments on it which we have been keeping for sometime. Tada the tree is done, another master piece! Ok not by me but I supplied plenty of support and encouragement. The weather is nice and holiday spirit is everywhere. These bowls of candy around the house are going to turn me into a big fat a$$, its ok I’ll go a little further next time I run. We head out for dinner, to the local steak house. The chow is awesome, holiday music on the radio, friends and conversations are better and its so good to see everyone and they all look great. We get done with a great dinner and head for the house and its suggested we go check out the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. We all pack in a couple cars and head out in the December chill. They are lights everywhere. Are we driving through the International Christmas Light Contest neighborhood? That deer made out of sticks just turned its head and winked at me. These guys aren’t messing around. Flashing houses, bright trees and perfect Christmas trees showing through house windows. Its getting late and we decide to head home. We get a nice pot of coffee on and the house is filled with smells of the holiday as music echoes through the house. There is that dang bowl of candy again………I trouble shoot a string of lights on the tree that has been kicking my butt and on then off then they come back on. It’s the end of another fine day and I think how lucky I am to be here with friends and family.
I take a walk outside to check out the weather as it starts to rain, this is the first rain Ive seen for a year here as it turns to hail. Im not at home anymore Im here still in Iraq, with a different family, the Marine family. Another milestone has been achieved and the elections are a success. A country is in motion with democracy and freedom and the last years work is paying off although we have paid a price. There are no lights here except for the few strings Marines have put up from care packages, and the occasional illume artillery round fired in the night sky. I guess there is a special glow from the chemlights that line the walkway but they definitely aren’t the holiday type. There are no crowds except for the locals on the street in the city and they aren’t shopping. The IEDs and other explosions echo though the area now days. Im not sure if it’s the cloud cover or what but now when there is an explosion it echoes through the area for a few seconds unlike before. Counter battery rings out and dang that first one always gets ya, at least I wasn’t in the head this time. Sporadic fighting continues around the area but nothing crazy. Marine’s morale is high and everyone has accepted the fact that this is the only family they will be sharing the holiday with and actually that’s not a bad thing. You could say it doesn’t bother you to be away from home on the holidays……. you could say you’re a liar too. However, we are a disciplined force and know we have an important job to do. That job requires discipline, commitment and sacrifice. Sacrifice in the hundreds to those who won’t ever go home, ever. Where ever there is injustice in the world we will go there. Wherever there is an evil dictator killing his own people, we will go there. Why? Because as US Marines that’s our job and that’s what Marines have been doing for over two hundred years. We will fight our nation’s battles in any climb and place and anytime of the year. That young Marine standing post in the chilly desert night knows it’s the holiday season as does that young Marine who is on his second dozen convoy mission through the worse area in Iraq. The Soldier on a lonely checkpoint out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but his team and gun truck, they know it’s the holiday season too. The tanker, the pilot the warrior. They all know it’s better to give than to receive. A simple concept that they and their buddy’s have proven with blood and sweat. A simple concept that many “Don’t get”.
We are a proud military, a volunteer military who take pride in what we do for a nation that is great. This holiday season, cherish what is yours, smell the trees, have fun with family, take walks, have some egg nog and a stoag for us and enjoy your holidays. Although we had rather be home, know that we will finish what needs to be done and you can rest in peace, your Marines are on guard this holiday season.
Merry Christmas & Semper Fidelis
There are still small skirmishes around the area and IEDs continue to threaten US forces throughout the night. The area is in a small lull from the elections however the insurgency isn’t going to pack up and go away just because the elections went off flawlessly. You Marines continue the fight.