December 25, 2011: A (Holi) Day in the life of a soldier
If all goes according to plan, this will be the last time I will wake up Christmas morning as a deployed solider.0530: Morning begins with an early wake-up for a 5k Christmas Fun Run. Soldiers typically poke fun at just how much “fun” a run is – comparing it to “mandatory fun.” I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it was actually fun. A number of the participants showed up in festive attire and many folks got creative with their costumes.
< 0600: Moments before the run was kicked off, something really interesting happened that very few people will ever witness. It was a few minutes before 0600 and everyone was milling around waiting for the run to start. We all knew that reveille was only seconds away but you wouldn’t know it by the amount of chatter that was going on. Then the first note starting playing and in unison everyone turned toward the flag and rendered the morning salute. You could have heard a pin drop at that moment. Coincidently, in order to face the flags we had to turn to the east and we also watched the sun beginning to rise over the camp. It was really quite a sight. Sort of a Kodak moment and not a bad start to the day!0629 (and a few seconds): I crossed the finish line. Not a bad finish for an old guy J. The run went off without a hitch and at 0640 the last person crossed the finish line and it was over. Time for a shower and breakfast.
1700: One of the things all deployed soldiers look forward to during the holidays is the food. The cooks do a really nice job with the Christmas meal but you are still being served just like you were in high school, a la cafeteria style, and eating your meal off a plastic plate with disposable flatware. There is one notable difference about Holiday meals. Our holiday meals are typically served by senior staff. I can’t speak for everyone, but I for one, enjoy the nod of thanks for our hard work and sacrifice.
I know that the cooks prepared our Christmas meal with pride and the soldiers will eat it not knowing what it takes to put this kind of meal together. In fact, I am sure that most of the soldiers could care less and think that it is the least the Army can do seeing as they are away from their homes. Only a few of us will appreciate the hard work it takes to put it all together.1900: Back in the tent watching a mini-series that one of good friends has been watching surfing the internet just trying to pass the time. Thank goodness for the internet. It allows me to keep my sanity during the many hours of down time.
2200: Lights out. Overall, I will conclude that aside from brief interludes of happiness, the “Merry” in Christmas will be absent for me this year. But I take pride in the work that I do, and joy in knowing I am one day closer to home.