Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

It's officially Christmas here in Iraq.

It doesn't really seem like Christmas. Sure, a lot of guys have some little token of the season in their rooms or spilling over into the hallways- there's little trees and some garlands. There's some stockings that someone in the states sent over for the soldiers lying undistributed in a box. Christmas spirit is sure trying to get into the air, but it's hard to get into it in the middle of a war. The fighting doesn't stop for us just because it happens to be Christmas. It never has. The Bible story about Jesus' birth says that the king's response to the news was to go and kill all the children of the appropriate age he could find to eliminate the threat to his crown. For all the elements of the holiday that are missed over here, the bloodshed angle sure managed to stick around. In this counterinsurgency that we are fighting, we try to accommodate Muslim holidays and traditions to the extent we can. Our enemy gives no such ground on Christmas or any other holiday, and we neither expect him to do so, nor do we relax and wait for him to attack. The missions and the gunfire and the explosions don't stop; we just have Christmas in the midst of them.

It sucks, yes. But it's still Christmas. I can tell by the tune I hear a Marine humming as he splashes through the mud. I can tell by the boxes spilling into the halls, filled with treats and gifts from people far away. I can tell it from the cards schoolchildren send to wish their heroes well.

I've had a couple people tell me they feel guilty for being at home with families over the holidays while so many people they know serve overseas. Here's what I want to say to you this Christmas:

Don't worry about us today. Relax in your fire-warmed homes. Cut the bows and tear open the packages. Call the grandparents. Shovel the driveway and then build a snowman. Dig into the potatoes and have an extra slice of ham. Share a kiss under the mistletoe. Drink up the eggnog, and don't forget to raise a toast for your soldier far away.

Make sure everything is well at home- we'll take care of things here.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Merry Christmas TD, stay safe (as you can) and return home safely when you are able

  2. Thanks TD, you guys are awesome. We are praying for your success and safe return home. Merry Christmas!

  3. I saw a bumper sticker recently which stuck in my mind. It read, When Jesus said Love thy Neighbor, He probably didn't mean Kill him.

    Love your blog...keep it up. I'm definitely raising a glass to your health.

  4. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.... may you all return home safe and sound. Bless you all.

  5. Merry Christmas! I promise I'm sending you something... it'll just be a little late.

  6. Thank you for keeping me safe, so I can go on with normal life here. God bless you and keep YOU safe. I am very grateful to you all.

  7. Outstanding...

    Continue the Mission.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas

  8. A Merry Christmas to you, TD. Thank you for your service and thank you for keeping us safe. With every candle I light this Christmas I will think about all of you out there taking care of business. Take care.

  9. Merry Christmas, TD! After reading your excellent post, I went straight to the fridge, got my best brandy snifter, poured it full of eggnog and sprinkled fresh-bought nutmeg on top. ~raising my glass to you all~ You soldiers are our heroes. We admire and respect you so. Your bravery and dedication has taught me what true gratitude and humility feels like. It's this ache in my heart that there's so many of you Americans protecting my family and me this and every day. Everything I am able to do is possible first because of you and this sacrifice you make for us all. Thank you, TD. In the words of a Memphis child whose valentine card I read before sending it on its way to our soldiers at a remote jungle training location: "You are loved by many."

  10. Merry Christmas, my friend. Thank you for all you're doing, and know that we're all thinking of you.

    It's been snowing for four days here in Alaska and it's absolutely beautiful...everything is covered in a thick layer of white that the passing cars and pedestrians haven't yet been able to dirty or trample. I know it's a sight you would like.

    Stay safe and hurry home to us.

  11. Belatedly, Merry christmas...and thank you.


  12. Just started reading your blog. All you guys were in my thoughts and prayers this Christmas. It is true about the saying that at home we can sleep peacefully at night because of all of you guys.

  13. Dear US Soldier,
    Allow me to offer you a simple 'thank you" to you and your fellow service persons. I pray every day that God will bring each and every one of you home safe and soon. From my small upstate New York home, I and my family wish you and all your fellow soldiers a very merry and safe Christmas. Thank you for your service to our great country!

    Best Wishes,

  14. With all you're going through for us... the least I can do is comply.

    We had a great Christmas. And we thank you for it.

  15. I just got back to the office from Christmas break (no internet access at home) to read this truly outstanding post. We are truly blessed that there are people like you making our Christmas's possible.

    Thanks again.