A couple minutes turn into an hour, a few hours turn into a day, weeks to months and before you know it, the year is over. Another turning point another fork in the road leads you down new paths. Its always unpredictable but you have to have the time of your life.
It’s a great run and we all have to enjoy life and live every second. Not just because we are in Iraq but that does make things a lot clearer to live life through this stuff. Sure you could get whacked back in the states by some drunk driver but you haven’t, not yet. Marines dodge bullets, cheat death, spared by modern technology Kevlar and reinforced hardened steel. Taken a shot in the Kevlar vest trauma plate, getting knocked down but getting up and scratching off one of the nine life’s from the list. Having the entire Hummer engulfed from multiple shelled IEDs and gasoline detonating on you where other wise you would have been Swiss cheese and goo. It wasn’t your time, not yet.
Aren’t you afraid of getting hurt / killed in Iraq? A young kid wrote in a letter to me. Yes. But you accept that it could happen and if its going to happen its going to happen. Why worry about it? When it’s your time it’s your time. The explosives here are so big you won’t know what hit you and it will be over in a flash.
This place and Afghanistan are ugly places. No care for life as I remember manning a check point. A van pulled up and when the family got out a baby girl (maybe a year old) fell out of the van to the ground head first and began to cry. I reacted to go pick it up as the several adults continued to step over it and while getting out they continued wrapping themselves in their traditional dress. Dirt kicked on her, tears streaming down her ear pierced face as she bellowed her heart out on her stomach. No one was helping her, no one cared as they got out of the car. Arms not even long enough to extend past her sleeves as she lay helplessly on the deck, gasping for air. I moved pretty quick and as I headed for the van my Marines knew something was up and reacted to a possible threat and things got real exciting as my men drew in on the people getting out. As I began to pick up the little thing, knowing the many customs I was about to violate by handling females, I really wasn’t concerned about some custom that states that men, especially foreign men aren’t suppose to have contact with their women, whatever. Just before I picked her up I was distracted by a man that began beating a woman and shouting at her. Not because she dropped her kid but because they allowed me to get close to her. Beating me to the baby, another female barged in to pick the tiny thing up. Crying louder, just wanting the pain to stop, I felt like I could help but then I knew things had to go on like they were for a reason. It was their customs not mine. There I sat on a knee shaking my head at the lack of care for life here. They will kill one another especially their own family in a blink of an eye.
We are away from home this holiday season to complete our mission and to eliminate terrorists and defend our nation. It is unfortunate for us to be away from loved ones on earth and in heaven however, its probably the best Christmas gift Ive ever given. No family gatherings, snow drifts or missile toe. Just always on watch ready to go. Scumbags are scared and are on the run, regardless of wherever they go they will find us with lots of guns. While you are in the states celebrating the season know that we are on the front lines for a reason. As this war continues you may not always hear it, but we are full of American and Christmas spirit.
As you celebrate Christmas, be thankful for what you have and where you are. Know its better to give than receive and be thankful you are with someone who cares enough about you to pick you up when needed. You don’t need a lot of money and fame to have a great Christmas just the Christmas spirit is enough. Enjoy your health and enjoy life. In the states, on a rocky Afghani mountain or Iraqi desert, have a Very Merry Christmas and this holiday, have the time of your life.
From your Marines, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Iraq.
Numerous small fights still continue. IEDs and Indirect mortar and rocket fire are ever present. Counter battery rung out numerous times today and your service members continue to win the fight.