Every year, I tell my wife not to buy me anything for Christmas. I explain that I am a grown man, and that I can just use my money and earning power to buy myself anything that I want. I also tell her that after having so many Christmases and Thanksgivings and Birthdays etc. doing something in the service of my country (usually somewhere in the world that could only be described as "super craptastic") that I am just glad to be home.
But there was this one Christmas that I spent here that was pretty cool.
But, despite all of the cool and uncool places you can spend a holiday, I think all any veteran really wants for Christmas is to be home. I won't have to stand another QRF, fire-watch, presence patrol or attend another targeting meeting, intelligence update, or BUB while holding Christmas dinner in my hand on a paper tray.
I wouldn't trade those experiences over my 24 years, because without them, I wouldn't have the perspective to appreciate how much I enjoy the gift of just being in my own living room on December 25th.
I want Mrs. Deebow and my family to know that watching my little Deebow open gifts that Santa brought and placed gently under the tree we cut ourselves and having a hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll sitting next to her; all while surrounded by piles of used wrapping paper and empty boxes is one of the greatest joys of my life. I wouldn't trade it for a 20 foot pile of money or a rucksack full of gold. Everything else is just extra.
To my fellow warriors and veterans who are serving during this holiday season; please know that my only Christmas wish for you is for to be home with your families, enjoying the mountains of used wrapping paper and a hot cup of coffee and the laughter of your children and the warm company of your families. Merry Christmas to everyone who is forward deployed and on QRF, fire-watch, coming or going from a patrol, on their way to a targeting meeting, or sitting in a BUB. Thank you for the freedom to enjoy my Christmas in peace.
And most of all, and this likely never gets said enough; Merry Christmas to the troops and contractors who are manning the chow hall and the kitchen. I always appreciated the fact that some of the best food I have ever eaten on a holiday far from home was cooked by someone who thought it was not just their job, but their duty to ensure that Christmas dinner was as close to homemade as it could be 8,000 miles from my dining room.
Oh, and Mrs. Deebow? Yeah, well; I have some gifts to open now.
Feh... Like she does what I tell her....