Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Deployed for Christmas

A dear friend is currently in Afghanistan. She wrote on Christmas Day, "It's just another day here, but everyone is running around with Santa Hats and Antlers and Christmas Trees on their heads." Of course, despite her attempt at humor, it is not just another day. The troops were out delivering supplies to orphanages, schools and hospitals. They were have runs and swims to donate to charity. They were having worship and meals together and longing for children and spouses and parents.

This year, while so many Americans had their plans for the season interrupted by the weather, I wonder how many stopped to remember those who were truly far away and in harm's way? I wonder how many realized how truly good they had it at home?

Capt. David Peyok with the 1-158th Field Artillery Battalion does not let a lack of snow dampen his spirits as he makes a "Sand Angel" in the dirt while celebrating Christmas at Camp Ramadi, Iraq.

Airmen and Soldiers stand around the Joint Base Balad, Iraq, holiday tree during a tree-lighting ceremony inside Sapper Circle, Dec. 16. During the ceremony, commanders from the Air Force and Army judged large plywood holiday greeting cards, with the theme 'Sounds of the Season,' that various units across Balad had built. The winner of the competition will be announced on Christmas Day.

Soldiers of the 20th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division pose in front of the battalions motor pool Christmas tree, built from scrap metal and cement blocks, after a tree-lighting ceremony at Forward Operating Base Patriot in eastern Baghdad Dec. 8. Leaders from the 20th Engineers delivered unscripted speeches to the troops present and a dedicational prayer for the tree was given emphasizing the brotherhood of Soldiers during the holidays, serving so far from home. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jan Critchfield, 122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Airmen and Soldiers from Sather Air Base in Baghdad come together for a Christmas Eve candlelight service at the Lighthouse Chapel. The service included fellowship, scripture reading, Christmas hymns and prayer for peace and prosperity in Iraq.

Chaplain Maj. Eddie Jones lights the center candle of an Advent Wreath during a Christmas Eve worship and candlelight service at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, Dec. 24. Jones is deployed from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Capt. Andrew Cohen stands behind a lit menorah during the eighth day of Hanukkah at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the victory over Greek oppression, the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple and the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. Cohen, a rabbi with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Chapel, is deployed from Andrews Air Force Base, Md.


Buck said...

I wonder how many stopped to remember those who were truly far away and in harm's way?

Some of us did. I had a fairly long e-mail conversation with SN1 on Christmas Day. He's in good spirits and will be coming home in a matter of days now, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

Great pics, Cynthia. Thanks for posting!

Flag Gazer said...

Great News!
Haven't left him out of my prayers!!!

Jenn of the Jungle said...

Great post... your friend got my package and sent a lovely letter back,that I got today.

Hugs to all the troops!!! All the time.

SargeCharlie II said...

I stop to remember and be thankful for these wonder young folks every day, best wishes for a peaceful new year.

Buck said...

Happy New Year, Cynthia!! And thanks yet again for ALL you do for the troops. You're a bona-fide National Treasure!

Flag Gazer said...

Buck - thank you so much, my friend.