Saturday, December 24, 2005

In the Quiet Place

For some, these days are the worst. The quiet days. Days when you run out of things to do to occupy your mind. There is no one shooting at you. You've read until your eyes hurt. Your weapon can't get any cleaner. You can almost feel it coming on. It starts with a stare at a wall, or a picture. You fight it because you've been there so many times before and you know exactly where it is going to take you. But for some reason, there are times when you just don't want to fight it. You want to lose yourself in those sweet memories of home, family and friends.

I have fought this battle more times than I can remember. I have quit fighting it because I have learned over time, that this intraspection reminds me what I am fighting for. We all surround ourselves here with as many of these memories as is possible. So much so, that it is difficult to avoid them. I keep pictures of my wife and my daughters in my helmet so that at every moment, they are there with me. I sleep surrounded by pictures of my family. When I go to sleep, it is my wife and children's faces that I see. When I wake up, they are there to smile at me and say "Good morning Daddy", and indeed every morning is just that.

It is a tough job that we do, but one that is not without reward. During these quiet moments, I am reminded of home and it has become my motivation. It has become my ally. My reward will be when I return to my family knowing that our world is safer now because of me and men like me. Men who recognized how much our country and families are depending on us to fulfill our responsibilities to them. Men who say to their families and countrymen, "No one will hurt you on my watch." I am fighting this war for many reasons. I fight for my country, let there be no doubt. But more importantly, I am fighting for my family. I fight for the world which my children will inherit from me. I fight so that one day, they will not have to. And I have become grateful for these times of relative quiet; because it is in this quiet that I can hear my wife and children thanking me. It is when I can see myself giving my daughters away in marriage. It is when I see my wife and I growing old together. Yes, it is a tough job but it is in the quiet that I am reminded of why I am here and where I find my reward...And it keeps me going.

I have no idea what this world will be like after I am gone. There will probably be many more "Iraq's" in our future. But each one that I fight, is potentially one less that I will be leaving for my children and grandchildren to fight. My parents, without a doubt, gave me a better world than the one that they were given and I will go to my grave knowing that I have done the same for my children and for theirs.

6 comments:

Barb said...

Quiet vs. busy - hard choice. Hope all goes okay over the next few days ;-)

Cheryl Friend said...

It's just after midnight in Irag on December 25th. I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas. May God bless you and keep you.

CJ said...

This is such a beautiful post. More people need to see your blog. I, for one, am very glad I found it. Thank you sir, for doing what you do! And Merry Christmas to you too!! God bless and keep you safe.

Hangtown Bob said...

Just came here from Redneck to Barbette to you. Nice writing and a very interesting blog. Thank you for your service. I'll be back. Hope you had a good Christmas and hope you have a very good new year. Keep your powder dry and watch your six!

kbug said...

I just found your site, and I'm really sorry I didn't know about it sooner. I've been reading In Iraq for 365 (a personal friend who just returned from Iraq in January), Blackfive, and 365 and a Wakeup for a while now. If it wasn't for the milblogs, I wouldn't know what was really going on over there. The media certainly doesn't tell the real story, and the real story is very important to me since my youngest son just arrived in the sandbox a few weeks ago and will be there for at least a year. Thanks for all that you do. I hope your Christmas was a nice quiet one filled with thoughts of your loved ones...and thoughts of spending next Christmas at home.

Barb said...

Kbug - Thank you and your son for your service! All our men and women over in the sandbox are great people, and we'd love to hear how you son is doing from time to time.