Monday, December 14, 2009
I will remember Christmas 2003. I was stationed in Baghdad. I lived on the Tigris river with a bunch of lieutenant colonels in a house. My friend, Joe, made the house festive with Christmas cards strewn around the living room. I admired his dedication. He had 300+. I have never been good writing letters or cards. Joe spearheaded a nice event at our house arranging to get some Iraqi food and inviting some of the civilian staff who worked at the palace. One guest was the acting U. S. ambassador to Baghdad. We were having a nice meal and enjoying some Christmas fare on TV when some Iraqis pooped our party. They began lobbing mortars into our compound. We were in a house so we had some protection but the acting ambassadors body guards being the professionals they were, they were concerned for his safety. Joe got some of the soldiers who lived with us to move a machine gun to our roof in an overlooking position to any approaches from the river or road. The body guards thought it best to move the acting ambassador away and soon all the other guests departed. So I will always remember our celebration of the Prince of Peace which was interupted by the sounds of war. Those were real mortars bringing their destruction. Unfortunately, I have also experienced other times of war, but the weapons were not tangible but just as real. It is so sad to interupt any celebration of the Prince of Peace with harsh words or anger. Sometimes in my innocence I almost think that anger is more destructive than bullets. This year I pray that we will remember all those who have the shadow of guns in their midst and strive to bring peace on earth wherever we are.