Desert Storm: Christmas in Saudi Arabia
Christmas was only 34 days since Thanksgiving, but the changes were like night and day. It was like the war was reaching ahead of itself to us, in anticipation of what might happen. Thanksgiving was definitely not a normal day, right from President Bush’s visit to the big meal, and even the decorations.
At this point during Desert Shield, I’d received very little mail from home. In fact, I’d primarily received bills. My mother, who wrote her parents every day, wasn’t writing anything at all. That was one of the hardest things about being deployed so far away and in an environment where communication was a challenge. The world continued to happen, while I was stuck in a time bubble, and I didn’t know what was going on.
Christmas started out really like the day before and also like the day after. The world was brown and olive drab. No decorations, no Christmas tree. We had our first formation. Then one of our 40 foot trucks pulled up with a box trailer. It was filled with packages sent from the United States to “Any Soldier.”
Package after package was brought to us, so many it was overwhelming. Most of it was toiletry kind of stuff, and hard candy. Basic supplies had been hard to get initially, so everyone was still sending more to us. We received so much candy that we were sick of it and lobbing bags of it into trucks as they stopped at fuel point. The nicest thing I got was addressed to “Any soldier who was a cat lover.” Someone sent pictures of their cats.
It was nice to see that so many people did care, and it did usher in a feeling of Christmas spirit that sometimes gets lost during the holidays with all the commercialism.
But only a few hours later, we were back to work, readying for the war coming in 24 days.