Saturday, December 1, 2007, 12:29 AMA Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then, the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.
LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq
Thursday, November 22, 2007, 12:17 AMFor those of us here in our homes, we can smell the cooking and baking odors throughout the house, bringing out all the memories throughout the years of family gatherings. With lots of food and desserts to appease any appetite. Not to leave out the annual football games and many other Thanksgiving traditions.
For me, it's a bit differen this year. The wife and I are still planning on our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, with all the fixings we lke to have with it. Oh, and the desserts as well! But, like so many others we'll be having it without our family. For us, our kids have grown into adults, and have their own life to live and memories to make for themselves. But then there's many other families that won't be sharing the holiday with their loved ones because they are somewhere else in the world, on duty, in harms way, just like any other day they wake up.
Our troops, our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, loved ones and childhood friends, are out in the world serving our country. They serve us Freedom, freedom to wake up each day and decide what it is we want to do that day, because we have that freedom to do just that. Somewhere out there a service member is walking a fine line between death, and making it back to camp, safe and sound, only to get up the next day and do it all over again. When they wake up on Thanksgiving morning, they don't smell those same cooking and baking odors we do. Instead, they smell diesel fuel, gun powder, and the stench from the surrounding villages, towns and cities that don't have proper plumbing to carry the waste to a treatment plant. It's been that way for years now, ever since it was blown up and made unrepairable due to bombs of all kinds, both friendly and enemy.
When they wake up Thanksgiving morning their thoughts are going to be of "who's next today, will it be this person, that person, will it be me?" As they eat their breakfast and sip on some coffee, their minds flee for a moment back to the days of being home, with family and loved ones, the smell of the turkey cooking in the oven, of pumpkin pies and all the fixings. They can see and smell it just as if they were there, until they hear the order to "Lets Move out soldiers!" Suddenly, the memories are gone, and reality sits back in, and you wonder once again, who will it be today.....
These people, these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and the Coast Guard are no different than you and I, except for one thing. They decided to do something for their country and countrymen, they volunteered a portion of their lives to do whatever it took to serve "us all!" Regardless of who you are, what your color, race or religion is, whether or not you believe in God or something or someone else, so that we can still wake up each day and decide.... "what do I want to do today?"
I wish there was a way for everyone, young or old, to feel the same experience our service members feel every day they awake, whether it's in harms way or back on base stateside. To feel the thrill, excitement and the pride of being able to serve their country, as well as the fear, lonliness and despair of not knowing from day to day if they'll still be here. But, they do it, without question, without pause or hesitation, because it's their duty, it's what they are there for, to gaurd and defend our great country, as well as the citizens of other countries struggling to make a better life for their families as well.
I wish that this Thanksgiving everyone would take time to stop, and listen with your heart, take a moment of silence to think about our brave and dedicated service members making our way of life possible. Take a moment to thank the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and loved ones that have made that ultimate sacrifice, so we can wake up each morning as every morning, and decide what we want to do that day. It's something that we take for granted all to much, so please, take a little bit of that time, and offer a heart felt "Thank you!"
Friday, November 2, 2007, 01:09 AMI know this is not going to go well for some, but what I'm going to say is what I believe, and it's my personal opinion basically.
I am far from being prejudice no matter how you look at it, and spent a lot of time with black people. (damn I hate saying that, calling someone black is like saying they are different right from the start!) Anyways, during the 16 plus years I served in the military, both the Marine Corp and the Army, I have never met anyone I didn't like or get along with, whether they were red, whitel black, yellow or whatever damn color. As far as I was concerned they were all the same as me, we worked, lived and fought together and depended on each other, relied on each other to do their job, as well as cover my ass as I would cover theirs. It was a team effort to complete the mission evenif it was digging a latrine or picking up cigarette butts.
But ever since I've been out of the service, quite some time now, all I ever hear about is the injustice, descrimination, seperate standards for the different races. Where I grew up we all had the same exact opportunity, went to the same schools, had the same exact classes, and teachers, there was nothing different anywhere. There was just as many whites skipping sschool, failing classes and gettingin to trouble as there were blacks, but you never heard about them. You only heard about the blacks not being taught the same, given the same opportunity. What fricking world were they on when that happened? It wasn't here on earth that's for sure.
And as far as I'm concerned now, there's nothing different today then what there was then when it comes to education and opportunities. If you aren't proud of who you are, and what you've accomplished in life, that's apersonal issue, not a racial one. If you can't take pride in yourself to look as good as you can, present yourself in professional way, and do the job to the best of your ability, it's not a racial issue, it's personal. If you have to continously cry fowl, racial descrimination, and injustice because you didn't get the same pay, raise, or job, look in the mirror before looking elsewhere.
We are the same regardless of color or religion or anything else, and there are plenty so called white people that are just as lazy, careless, and have no personal pride or confidence in theirselves as any other color, except they don't cry out and blame others for their own failures.
Granted, our ancestors made some serious mistakes when it came to slavery, and it should have never happened. But, how long are you going to use that excuse in order to get something before you start to stand up and take responsibility for your failures today. The past is the past, it's gone, it's over, it no longer exists no matter what you say or how you look at it. It's time to stop crying foul and do something about it yourself, with yourself and for yourself. You are your biggest let down, not the system, not the white people, it's you. You have the same rights, the same education, the same opportunities as anyone anywhere, and it's up to only YOU to make shit happen your way. If you can't take care of yourself, then go somewhere and be a damn useless person like so many others, accept your a failure, that you let yourself down because you dodn't want to make the ffort like the rest of the world, and let the rest go on their way without having to listen to the constant whining.
OK, I've let some steam out and feel a bit better now. I feel for those that don't even take a chance at doing something for themselves, because I know once they are in that rut, they don't have the guts, or pride in themselves to stand up, and be the real person they are. It's a shame, and it's not just a black issue, it's a people issue, and it's world wide.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 12:13 AMYou know, I've been dealing with the VA and medical issues for well over 15 years now, and I still don't understand everything. I'm not talking about the quality of service so much, nor am I talking about the medical treatment.
Personally, even though it took 9 months to get my disability rating, I was able to get help from the Veterans Trust Fund and the Soldier Sailor Relief folks as well. They took very good care of me, even managed to provide me with some small gifts for my 2 daughters one Christmas.
I wish there was a way to get the word out to veterans everywhere that there is help out there, but you have to really want the help and ask for it. But I know many are to proud to take that step because it's like stepping down or backwards, and as a soldier, you never give up the fight. But if you have a family that depends on you, you have to think about them first, they are your main mission once you are home. And just like being on a mission, you do what you have to do to make that mission successful, and always take care of your troops.
I wish I could get that same message across my own brothers head, but, it's the same story. He doesn't have a problem, even though he's been divorced more than once, lost his license, and lost his own children all because of alchohol. But, he won't accept that he has a problem enough to do anything about it. He could be doing 100% better today if he would have taken the right steps after Vietnam. It's hard watching him throw his life away day after day, beer after beer, shot after shot. He doesn't have a paying job,lives with friends that help him get work to get him by, and that's his entire life right now. What's worse, it's been this way for longer than I can remember.
But he's not alone out there either. There are alot of vets from Vietnam, Persion Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan and other "missions" that are in the same situation. They all have the same or similar problem, but also all deserve the help, assistance, treatment, and support, including finacial help, and more, if only they asked for it. Some will say they have but never got anything and walk away, which blows me away. If you know you have these benefits and rights, what the hell are you doing walking away, and giving up? It just means you came across someone that didn't want to do their job in serving you for serving for them. Find someone else,they are out there. I am one of them. I'll do whatever I can to help a vet get everything that they deserve. But you know, you can't help someone that doesn't want to be helped, or isn't ready to accept the truth.
I know a lot of Vietnam vets feel betrayed and or let down, and that they deserve an apology for the way they were treated and shunned when they came home. When here all they did was perform the duty given to them by their superiors and our President's request of them. Nothing different then the Persion Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., the same thing each time, only some were much more dangerous than others, in ways you can only imagine. The only real exception was that for the Vietnam war, the politicians tried to run the war,and allowed things to happen that never ever should have. We played the propoganda war against our own people, our own soldiers defending thier country and home as any soldier has done in any war. We let our soldiers down and gave up on helping a country defeat its enemy all because of politics.
You know, I wasn't intending on talking about this when I started the blog entry, somehow got taken off track here, but that's ok, it was worth saying.
Saturday, July 21, 2007, 12:10 AMI may have some problems, I may not be as fit and strong as I used to be, I might have all kinds of stupid crap wrong with me medically, but I am not fucking stupid.
Now I know why so many disabled people get irratated with other people, always being told to "wait, someone will come help you with that!" and you have to sit there and wait and wait and wait, only to end up doing the damn thing yourself anyways because everyone else is to damn busy with their own lives to give a damn about others.
This world we live in today is so screwed up it isn't funny anymore, it's a pitiful shame. Nobody cares about nobody, and barely about themselves. It's more about what they have, where they have it, and who they have it with. But if it has to do with anything "free" as in simply taking a few minutes to help out another person for whatever reason, FORGET IT! It's a dog eat dog world anymore, even religions are no longer "Sacred" as they once were considered.
But to be basically set aside and labeled "useless" because you have some issues and can't always do things you'd like to, simply sux and cpiuldn't be more further from the truth. I have a brain that functions just fine thank you. If I have a problem I use it to help me determine the next best step to take, and if that isn't enough, or didn't quite work, I CAN continue to do so until I succeed. I don't need people telling me all the damn time what I can and can't do damn it, especially when you have no damn idea on just what I can or can't do in the first place. Are you a fricking doctor just sitting there waiting for people like me to come by and be diagnosed as a useless idiot that can't do things for themselves! I can really see how someone can become depressed when they are continously told over and over that they can't do this, that or any fricking thing else, just because they are labeled "Disabled!"
In case some didn't quite know it, but being "Disabled" doesn't always mean "UnCapable, or Unable." It usually means we have to think of a different way of doing things for ourselves, and at some point may need some assistance to succeeed at other things.