Monday, November 29, 2004

Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party

After having started my own blog I thought, who else is blogging and what are they blogging about. It was then that I was reading in the Stars and Stripes (a newspaper delievered here free for the troops) that blogging is a popular thing amonst those here in Iraq and Kuwait in the armed forces. Its also popular in the now free Iraq. Two links below are just a sampling of what has come from the work we have done here in Iraq. Do you think you will hear abou this on the Mainstream Media? I think not. Start with these two links and follow them areound, see how the Iraqis are reacting to their freedom.

Iraq the Model Blog
Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party



When I packed for this deployment, I had never been to Kuwait. I was told to expect BLAZING hot heat, like you were standing in front of a kiln with a fan on. It never happened. So I didn't pack all of my warm clothes like sweatsuits and jeans and sweatshirts. So I've been making due with the sweatshirts my wife has sent and the plastic windpants that I have. Boy it sure is cold around here. Yesterday it didn't get above 50 I think, and this morning it was about 36 out. BRRRRRR it is cold. Not that anywhere in the MidWest is any warmer right now, but there I have things that help me deal with it, like my nice warm winter jacket, with my nice warm winter gloves and long underwear.....I work the night sure is going to be a long shift if it keeps this cold.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving Day!!!!

It is Thanksgiving Day here at Camp Patriot Kuwait. I have today off,
which I am thankful for.

In the years past around this time I have often wondered how those who
serve feel during the holidays that we hold so dear to our culture. I
know now. It is a bittersweet day here for me, because I miss my wife
and my daughter, and the rest of my family a great deal. Today the
officers that we serve under have taken a day to serve us. They serve
Thanksgiving dinner. There is nothing special about the meal itself, it
is the same turkey, the same potatoes and gravy, the same stuffing, the
same salad and vegetables that are served at other times. The
difference is in the atmosphere, the fact that everyone is wishing
everyone else a Happy Thanksgiving. Close friends are gathered around a
table together sharing their Thanksgiving dinner with one another.
Bottles of sparkling grape juice and apple juice are shared among one
another toasting to going home and seeing our loved ones, toasting to
the rest of the troops serving in more dangerous areas than Kuwait.

There is plenty of time here to be thinking. Time to think about what
is important in my life. Circumstances like these cause one to think
about what has been taken away from them for a time. Waking up with my
wife in the morning, and eating breakfast together. The morning commute
to work on the train. My coworkers, and our lunch time discussion
topics. The smile on my little girl's face that I only get to see
through pictures. These are some of the things I miss the most, but
these are the things in my life that I am most thankful for. These are
the things that are flooding my mind on this Thanksgiving Day.

It is a beautiful day out, the crisp breeze and cloudless day makes it
feel like the days of indian summer in November, back home. My wife and
I shared our first Thanksgiving together last year in my stuffy
appartment at Village in the Park. Outside it was a gray, cold and
blustery November day. The windows were frosted up due tol the humidity
in my apartment from cooking mashed potatoes and gravy, stove top
stuffing, and vegetables, and 1 kinda small turkey in the oven. I'd
never cooked a turkey before, so we had help from both of our parents.
I called my dad with questions about how to cook the turkey and Shanon
her mom with help on cooking everything else. We lounged around all day
playing Skip-Bo and enjoying our time together. It is days like that
which cause me to be thankful for everything I have.

In some ways I am thankful for this deployment. There is not much to be
thankful about and don't need to bring that up here, but what I am
thankful for is that through this time my wife and I have become closer
to each other than ever. We've had the time to develop and work on our
communication with one another, and to develop a love for one another
that can only be created when you realize how much you have and never
take it for granted. So in that way I am thankful for being here
serving my country over Thanksgiving day.

People say that Forward Alpha, the group we releived, had it really
rough. I don't doubt that, they were busy and they were the guinea pigs
for NAVELSF on how to do what we're doing. Forward Alpha is home
enjoying Thanksgiving with their family, and they will enjoy Christmas,
New Years, and Valentine's day as well. We will be here, standing the
watch, waiting for our relief to come.

I am thankful for serving with Forward Bravo, because now I know how a
servicemember feels having to serve the holidays away from home.

Veterans Day

I know it isn't Veterans Day today but I wanted to blog something about
it. The internet here has been acting weird the past few weeks and
hopefully it will hold out a little longer so that I can get my thoughts
out :-)

People ask isn't Memorial Day like Veterans Day? There is a difference
that I would like to point out. Memorial Day is for those members of
the US armed forces who have died in service for their country, or those
who have served their country and passed on. Veterans Day honors those
members of the US armed forces serving in current operations, those who
have returned from those operations, and those who have retired from
military service and have served in previous operations or conflicts,
who are alive.

When you encounter veterans in your everyday life thank them for their
service, and if you have time ask them about it. They might have some
excellent stories to tell. These people have given enormous amounts of
time, and have sacrificed their personal comfort more than anyone I
know. Without them we would not have the great nation that we do.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Get out and vote

Hey everyone,

Sorry it has been a while since I've last posted. I was deeply affected by the loss of one of our own. It hit a little close to home for me. I wanted the post for LCpl Wyatt to remain on top for a while out of respect for him and his family, and I didn't want it to be followed by some of the littler things that go one out here. I have been readying some new posts, about what we've been doing the past 13 days :), but today's post comes just before the American election. I cannot stress enough how important it is to vote. Whether or not you vote for George Bush or John Kerry, or Ralph Nader for that matter, the important thing is you voted. Most people don't even do that.

As a member of the armed forces, I am somewhat prohibited in what I can say, and since I am serving currently on active duty, I will refrain from supporting one or the other candidates. Let me offer some advice on how you should vote from a somewhat objective viewpoint.

You should vote for the person who you feel has demonstrated solid leadership ability regardless of whether or not you agree with them, you know where they stand. Presidents have to be leaders when the public likes them and when they don't like them. Presidents are high-level policy makers, if you don't like their policies and can logically argue the point without getting emotionally involved then vote accordingly.

The real power comes from Congress. Get involved in your local representative, and senator elections. Know those candidates and what they stand for. They are easier to get in touch with than the President of the United States. The President may set policy standards, but it is Congress who decides when or how those policies are enacted. You through Congress have the ability to affect the policies that you do not like.

Our country has had peaceful transfers of power for almost 230 years. A part of this is because we value the fact that each person is independent and has the ability to exercise their right to vote without fear of persecution or repercussion. Please do not shame people who vote one way or another, or who do not have the same viewpoints as your own. I've seen this happen and it isn't pretty it causes one to not want to participate in the process of electing our national officials and leads to apathy. If you can argue your viewpoint while allowing the other person to retain their dignity do so, if not keep your mouth shut. Sorry that last viewpoint was pretty subjective but I hope that all in all you take a serious look at the election tonight and tomorrow, and then get out and vote.

Off the soapbox now :)