August 1970 to August 1971

December 2010

He sat on his steel pot, a poncho draped over his body riddled with holes
from so much use. The rain has been relentless; it started raining in
September. A look of disgust and fear on his face - not the fear of dying or
imminent doom, but of a man who is about to lose a part of himself.

The disgust is from the smell radiating from his body, the odor of partially decayed
flesh coming from inside his boots, they reek of jungle rot and his body does not
fare better. He has been wet for months, there is no food left, the batteries
for the radio are expended, anything that could be eaten has been, even
what small creatures he could find.

The fear, well for a man whose life has been centered around his ability, to
control his destiny, the prospect of rotting to death and starving at the
same time, plays in his mind like a Shakespeare tragedy.

The soldier endures. Days become weeks, become months and eventually
years. This life is all I know. My memories are more like dreams, or scenes
from movies, did I really see them or is it just my imagination running
away with me. He looks at the others, they seem worse for wear than he,
or it so seems, men are whimpering with pain and depression, but none,
not a soul has quit. Somehow some way we will overcome this and see the
sun and feel its warmth again.

He sees a small tree that has a familiar shape and does not belong in this
jungle. It takes some moments to become familiar and when it does,
excitement brings renewed strength and hope, it looks like a Christmas
tree. With a whisper of a smile the soldier opens his water proof ammo can
where the only items of the sanity from home are kept, and he pulls a worn-
out photo and places it on the tree. Soon others join in and Merry
Christmas is heard.

In combat I say this in lieu of war, for there are many in war but few in
combat. The trials of men are often kept secret between them, the pain they
share makes them who they are, it's Christmas we almost forgot.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers for he who sheds blood with
me, shall be my brother, be he ne’er so vile, this day shall gentle his

Merry Christmas my Brothers, I love each and everyone of you.