Saturday, December 25, 2010

Standing watch

Like many in uniform this Christmas, I stand watch.  Granted, I sit in a secure air-conditioned safe and monitor the  for any comment that may require an immediate response, (which I will then draft for approval and forward to someone else,)  answer the phone (which hasn't rung for anything remotely important during my shift in the last month), prepare slides (which means, for the last week, changing the date and daily weather data on one slide) and listen to the rushing air of the AC, as I am not permitted television or any other device which may draw our attention away from our duties.

All things considered, it's a pretty cushy job I bitch about this Christmas.  I am safe, a couple miles from home, and near a family I will see intermittently.  I could very well be thousands of miles from home, in constant, looming danger, and see my family via phone calls and emails.

Nevertheless, we are brothers in arms, those who stand watch in a combat outpost, shivering in the night of an Afghan winter, and those who live in a fluorescent world of information and statuses by, manning desks, idle electrons and silent phone banks--we all share one thing tonight:

We are out here, alone and unafraid, defending freedom (even if that means monitoring a blog and waiting for a phone to ring) and ensuring that someone sallies’ forth into the dark when the bump in the night isn't a fat man rooting around for cookies.  We are out here, ensuring that the good people of America can sleep comfortably in their sleep number ™ beds, visions of sugarplums and all that jazz, and rush to open their presents in the morning, because no one in the world is willing to come between us and you.  We are out here... for your peace of mind.

After the rush tomorrow morning, when the presents are rent asunder, and the coffee and cookies consumed, and the kids are spinning like sugar-addled tops, and the dog is throwing up tinsel on the cat, while the cat is pooping under the tree, and there is that warm and comfortable moment before you drift off to a cozy midmorning snooze in front of the boob tube, take just a moment to remember those who stand a post.  You don't have to make any grand gesture, write letters or send packages, donate huge sums, or any other outward sign of thanks, just take a minute to recognize to yourself that people are, right now, protecting your family from harm by their very presence on that post.

Take a minute to remember.

Merry Christmas, Ya'll


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