Saturday, December 03, 2005

A couple of items here about the Christmas season.
First, if you have a problem with me calling it the Christmas season rather than the "Winter Holidays", the "Happy Holiday Season", the "Non-Religiously Affiliated Season of Giving", or some other sort of nonsense, then you're probably reading the wrong website. It's Christmas folks. It's a religous holiday. If you don't believe that, don't celebrate it. Ooooh, by the way, I'm writing this on a government computer. I hope that doesn't violate the separation of church and state. I'd better make sure I get the Chaplain to look at it first. You remember the chaplain right? A soldier of God whose earthly salary is paid by the U.S. Government. Church and state in the same uniform. Hmmm? Well, enough of that. In God We Trust, and Merry Christmas.

Second, I have had more than a few conversations/emails from people asking what they can send in packages for the soldiers. Folks, I can't tell you how much we appreciate the giving and sharing. The small momentos of support go so far in boosting the morale of the troops during this particularly stressful time. The difficulty here is that for the people I'm associated with, our time remaining here on the ground is short and in over the next few weeks we're going to try to reduce the amount of things that we have to carry out of here by shipping it out early.

Since giving is the most important thing during this season and your well-wishes, thoughts and prayers are the most important thing to us right now, here's the best thing that I can think of:
Visit Soldiers' Angels and select from any one of the operations that they have listed there to contribute to. They are all fantastic programs that go directly to helping soldiers and families who need it most. Then just drop us a card with your well wishes, thoughts and prayers and letting us know that you have given in our honor to help our comrades who need it most. cards can be sent to:

Any JLC Soldier
c/o Claude Crisp
APO, AE 09354

Finally, I want to share this poem that somone forwarded to me. I normally shy away from forwards, but this captures very well, the spirit of the CHRISTMAS season from my perspective this year.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a Winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
andI crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said, "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front! against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?"

It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.

Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

Thank You all for your continued prayers and support. To really make this holiday season better for us though, find a family member whose loved ones are deployed and share your appreciation with them. We've been through a lot here, but we have been through it with each other and we will lan on each other the rest of the way. Our families don't always have this, and for people to share their thoughts and prayers with them is priceless.


Cheryl said...

Beautifully written. Thank you, both for this post and your service to our country.

Agnieszka O. in CO said...

Also, is a great place to visit if anybody wants to mail packages. And please mail care packages AFTER Christmas as well.
So it looks like you will be home soon. The skiing conditions in CO are really great this year :-)

Beth* A. said...

Merry Christmas to you, too! That poem is... perfect. Thank you sharing it, and for all that you are doing for this country.

Wild Thing said...

Love the poem and what you have written! Thank you!
Our troops ROCK and that means you! Thank you for serving our country and Merry Christmas!!!

Anonymous said...

Please share your pics and videos with Im Serving My Country web site.

yankeemom said...

Merry CHRISTMAS to you!! I love that poem. Tear up every time.
Thanks for posting it!

devildog6771 said...

12/15/05....You haven't posted for a while. Just checking on you!

Pebble said...

Merry Christmas