[Corporal Nick Queen is today’s author. I’ve known Nick briefly via the connection we’ve made via Twitter, but ran across his “WildCard” submission here. We can be warm and comfortable here in America because of people like the Corporal and his fellow Marines. Once again, we say “thank you!” to the armed forces personnel and their families. Professional One appreciates and applauds your service to our country.]
‘No holidays at war’
The biggest thing during the Christmas season is for people to just realize that they may get stressed out over the holidays, worrying about bills and presents and cleaning the house for people to come over. And some people are oh so worried about what they might get for Christmas this year. But they need to take the time to think about the people who make sacrifices so they can worry about that stuff. They need to remember the guys in Afghanistan who are sleeping in a mudhole on Thanksgiving, eating an MRE (meal ready to eat, preserved in a plastic bag that’s good for up to 10 years – they taste like dog ****).
I was in my pre-mobilization for Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2007. So I was still in America, but I wasn’t at home. Jan. 1 through July, I was in Iraq.
It was different. My whole family gets together for Thanksgiving, and here I was stuck on this little piece of Mojave Desert in California where they served us “turkey” from the chow hall.
But Christmas is when it really sucked. It’s the typical American Christmas at my house. Candles are lit, the house smells like cookies, we get up early on Christmas morning and sit around. Christmas lights, Christmas music. I missed the snow and seeing everyone for the holidays.
This Thanksgiving, I talked to one of my friends who’s stationed in Afghanistan. It was the first time he’d been able to call home in almost a month. His “festivities” included getting mortared and a nice long patrol. There are no holidays at war.
It’s just another day. Another day to work. Another day to wonder if you’re going to make it ‘til tomorrow.
It’s nice when you can roll over and hit the snooze button and sleep in for those extra couple hours. When overseas, you barely sleep. You’re running on fumes. But it’s not the sleep or the food that you worry about, nor the rare opportunities that you get to call home. It’s not worrying about what you’re going to do this weekend, or what’s up with the new iPhone.
It’s the safety of your buddy standing next to you.
It is that attitude of self-sacrifice that carries from your buddy next to you to the people back home in America. It’s that sacrifice we make so that our loved ones back home can have the Christmas they deserve with their family – and not have to sleep in mud holes for the holidays.
[Here’s the link to all of the 31 Days of Thanksgiving posts.]