Thursday, December 25, 2008

Peace on Earth


Christmas Eve unfolded as it has for a number of years with one notable exception; I didn't have to work a half day or more. Newly anointed 1st LieutenantO was back home from Brooklyn and wound up crashing at our place after a particularly fun filled hotdish night at Grumpy's Bar with GuitarMatt and I. GM just turned 21 and was exposed to the delights of IPA, winter warmers, and Russian Imperial Stout by me, 1stLtO, and PatD, the affable owner of Grumpys. Once we shook the cobwebs in the morning we ran a number of errands, including a gyros and beer for lunch, and I dropped 1stLtO off at mom's work. I headed back home to prepare for the onslaught of friends and relatives that would descend upon us after 5pm mass, where the VOR would be singing in the Christmas Choir.

All went well and the party began. The VOR was concerned that we wouldn't have enough food. Translation: We only had enough food for four times the actual number of guests rather than six times the number. Rookie the Wonder Dog was in his glory because when someone got sick of scratching his ears and told him to beat it, he'd just move on to the next victim. By the time he had hit everyone he just started the cycle over. We did have one new guest at the party, the new husband of one of the VOR's nieces. They had flown up for Christmas from San Diego, Camp Pendleton actually, and would be heading back Sunday. In the din and chaos of thirteen people stuffed in the living room, I managed to get a chance to chat with Jeremiah and he told me that he would be heading to Iraq for his second deployment in a couple months. On our errand mission that morning, 1stLtO told me he thought their brigade would be heading for Afghanistan in 2011. His good friend and 'battle buddy', Lt MannyC, will be shipping out in a couple months also, leaving behind his wife and two small girls, both of which have 1stLtO serving as their godfather.

Two months is a lot more immediate than two years but they both gave me pause, having talked to both of them the same day, Christmas Eve day at that. There is a local play that's enjoying a nice run in town, about the Christmas Truce in World War I. Soldiers on both sides just said to hell with this war thing and met in no man's land. True story. And then they climbed back in the trenches and continued shooting at each other the next day. I always wondered why they couldn't have just decided to continue the truce and maybe the idea would spread to neighboring units. Simplistic but a good thought.

Enjoy the holiday season. Good friends and relatives, food and drink, time to relax, and the spirit of the season, the same spirit that caused those soldiers in the trenches of 1914 to lay down their arms and meet on common ground. Think about peace on earth and continue to think about it well after the holiday season has passed. And perhaps take up the pen or keyboard and bring a little heat to those who think we need to defend every slight, every act that might diminish our power, with a bunch of young people with rifles. "Change" is supposed to be coming on 20 January. Some collective feet need to be held to the fire until someone says enough. Peace On Earth.