Christmas in Iraq

If you know a military family who has a family member serving overseas, please feel free to pass this poem on.

I wrote it in 2003 when my son Derek was serving in Iraq during the beginning of the war. He's there again, but things are a little better now, at least in his area--the troops are better equipped, they have good food to eat (instead of MREs and heating up the microwave meals sent from home on the stone walls. Did you know that they could get those warm enough to eat in about 10 minutes when the temperatures were 120 to 140 degrees?), and he can email home. While my feelings about the war remained conflicted between supporting the troops and not agreeing with our current administration, the poem still speaks to how many soldiers feel about their mission, and about their commitment to serving their country.

Christmas in Iraq

The hot sand is blowing
the sky inky black
Not much like Christmas
for the soldier in Iraq

The temperature's over 100 degrees
Sweat runs down his back and behind his knees
Danger is everywhere
Keep your eyes on your back
It's not much like Christmas
for the soldier in Iraq

There's no joy in this world
No angels on high
only missiles and anti-aircraft
guns light up the sky
No, it's not much like Christmas
For the soldier in Iraq

But his folks send a package
of presents and treats
His mother writes "a little of Christmas
in that desert heat."
He smiles as each item
comes out of the pack
Yes, a little of Christmas
for the soldier in Iraq

He finds pictures of his kids,
his father and mother,
unrolls a golf magazine
sent by his brother
cookies and brownies add to the stack
Just a little of Christmas
for the soldier in Iraq

Back home his children
nestle snug in their beds
no visions of missiles
dance in their heads
His folks are all safe
and far from this hell
The young man stands
and straightens his back
For that he'll spend Christmas--
Christmas in Iraq.

Susanna Holstein

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