Saturday, December 27, 2003

Christmas Without Nora; A Christmas I Would Rather Forget For All Time

27 December, 2003 2200 Continued…

“You’re doing great work here,” he said sincerely. “What you are doing for these people is providing them with a wonderful future and opportunity. You are making a difference in these peoples’ lives.” He continued on, but I can’t recall the exact words. I remember that when he was done speaking, I felt better about being in Baghdad.
It’s difficult to believe that the very people he spoke about helping were also the ones that killed him. You have to keep helping though – because even though 1 out of 10 hate you, that still leaves 9 who love you. Not only that – but we got ourselves in this situation, and we’ve got to resolve the matter. If you get discouraged – you leave those 9 people to die at the hands of killers. The U.S. government entered a contract of death when it decided to attack Iraq without provocation. The U.S. killed thousands. The terrorists are killing. It’s violent. It is evil – the whole situation here. When you see the money being spent on contracts here, the lavish living conditions of U.S. personnel, the virtual free for all party the Department of Defense is throwing here. People are getting rich on this war. Iraq is crippled. Most of the soldiers don’t understand why they are here, they aren’t inspired or feel any duty to mission. We do feel duty to each other and to getting home alive. Some feel we have a purpose here. Some don’t care where they are, as long as they are getting paid and get to yell at people and point guns at them. I have my own purpose for being here – to try to help and learn and know God’s plan for me here. I’m learning a lot.
There was a Christmas dinner at the chow hall. We ate well, but I was in a solemn mood. The managers were playing heavy metal music and showing a slide how from 1-7 Infantry. Everyone looked uninterested and trying to focus on their own conversations. I noticed a contractor laughing it up on a cell phone near one of the speakers cranking out the Christmas heavy metal. It seemed like he was talking to someone with the hopes they would hear the big party in the background. The soldiers weren’t partying though, just trying to forget about Iraq. I was grieving for CSM Francis, and reality about war was descending on me.
The night before, I learned a lesson, and a mystery was solved. How would Christmas be without you? I found you were with me, and the true spirit of Christmas. I was alone, I sat in my room, lit my Advent candles and opened the presents you sent. You sent a tape telling the story of our love. It was the best present I ever got. I sat there peacefully and listened to your voice and smiled and laughed, got teary eyed, talked back to you. I sat there, alone, in the soft glow of candlelight – and felt you with me, and felt the thankfulness and joy and hope Christmas should be. There was a sense of hope and peace, and thankfulness for Jesus in my life and your love. It was a very simple Christmas. But, it was a Christmas that would find me only a few months from going home. Your love is with me Nora. It’s with me. I love you, and I’ll be with you always.


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