This is my second Christmas in Iraq. My first Christmas was way back in 2003, when no one had any idea what was going on (things a bit better know, we realize this country is screwed). We received some intelligence that the Green Zone would be mortared by the insurgents, so we had a ‘stand to.’ That meant we awoke before dawn, but all of our body armor on and manned the walls waiting for hajji to charge the walls. There were a number of rocket attacks that didn’t land anywhere near us, so we got all dressed up for nothing.
I spent the first part of the day at work sweeping the floor while that heart breaking 3 Doors Down song warbled on the radio, think it’s “Love me when you’re gone.” No phone banks back then…I don’t think I even got an e-mail off.
After cleaning up my work area, went back to the gate guard building I was living in and enjoyed a nice bag of lime corn chips and cheese salsa while watching Star Trek. My roommate and I watched the movie M*A*S*H. Did you know that was the first movie to have the ‘f’ word?
Dinner at the mess hall featured life size sculptures of children made out of butter. I’m still confused about that.
This Christmas I’m surrounded by the internet and cheap phone lines, huzzah.
But, I and every other service person in this country are away from their loved ones. I’m not married, so I can skip that bit of heart ache, but I still wish I could enjoy Christmas morning with the family and watch a Star Wars marathon with my brother. I think my nephew still hasn’t seen Star Wars and he’s almost a year old. His geek development is stunted.
My goal for a future Christmas (maybe not Christmas 2008 as I may still be in Iraq) is a tree with nothing but Elvis and Star Wars decorations. I don’t know why, it just feels like the right thing to do.