Morning Calm thanks to a MarinE

What are the holidays like when you have to wear 60 pounds of body armor to dinner? A Marine describes Christmas in Iraq.

Dec. 21, 2006 – Gary Bourland, 37, spent much of last year as a Marine captain in Iraq. His mission: heading up a platoon of Marines assigned to protect his unit’s commanding officer from assassination attempts and the constant shelling and sniper attacks that plagued their base in the volatile city of Ramadi
You Can’t Feel Sorry for Yourself’

… A young kid once wrote to me asking: “Aren’t you afraid of getting hurt or killed in Iraq?” Yes, I am. But you accept that it could happen and if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen. Why worry about it? I figure the explosives are so big, you won’t know what hit you and it will be over in a flash. You dodge bullets, cheat death, spared by modern technology and reinforced steel. You take a shot in the Kevlar vest trauma plate, get knocked down and then get up and scratch off one of our nine lives from the list. You can have your entire Hummer engulfed from multiple-shelled IEDs and gasoline detonating on you, but somehow you make it because wasn’t your time—not yet.

..I went and delivered presents to some younger Marines. They enjoyed the gifts sent from folks in the States who didn’t know them—mostly practical things. They simply said thank you. Those words were meant for all of you back home who send us packages. Nothing can replace the smile on a young Marine’s face when you give him a gift that he wasn’t expecting.

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..You could relax a bit in the bunker, but you’d wear full combat gear going to eat and going through the line to get your chow. Most of us carried two weapons. You have a 9mm weapon strapped to your leg and a rifle slung over your back. And of course you’re carrying 200 or 250 rounds for the rifle and maybe another 200 for your other weapon. Then there’s the helmet, the neck protector, the body armor. Just the flack, the upper body protection, weighs 60 to 65 pounds. Some guys had full sleeve and leg protection, too. They looked like the Michelin man, but they were probably going to live if they got hit with shrapnel.


I know that the Marines still out there in Iraq and Afghanistan would wish everyone here the very happiest of holidays. We are honored to be on the front lines for you. Sleep well tonight. The Marines are on watch. Merry Christmas and Semper Fi.

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60 pounds of armor while also taking up daily the full Armor of God, and putting their lives in the sovereignty of the Good Lord’s unseen Hand.

The rain of lead exploding around their heads…

Snipers firing from dark places, bombs hidden in doorways, and in the tailpipes of cars. Unknown Soldier, MIA’s, some a victim of a warriors hell.

Some have spilt their blood, leaving behind a hand, arm, or leg so that we can still hug.
Some have paid the price in life or death, so that we may sleep tight and rest.

Sweet friends , as dawn begins to end the night, and sunlight fills this holiday, remember the ones armed with not only 60 pounds of armor, but with their unending selfless love.

Add a prayer for the ones who won’t let even the enemys’ bombs fragment our peace and our dreams of Freedom.

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“It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag
that allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Father Dennis O’Brien

Semper Fi brave soldiers..on the wings of eagles, you will soar.

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17 Responses to “Morning Calm thanks to a MarinE”

  1. jimmyb says:

    Merry Christmas, Angel.
    God bless. :)

  2. Gayle says:

    Merry Christmas, Angel. We who offer prayers for the troops should also remember to hug one another A LOT!

    Your post brought tears, sweety, but tears of great joy that we have wonderful people like this protecting all of us, even those who don’t seem to appreciate their efforts and sacrifice, so that we can enjoy the freedom this country stands for. May the Good Lord bless and keep them and enfold the ones who have gone to Him in His arms.

    Many hugs to you and yours this Christmas day and blessings and prayers for all of our troops each and every day that they put their lives on the line for you and me.

  3. vimto says:

    Happy Christmas Angel – with a lovely timely post.

    With praises to the Lord, and thanks for those willing tofight that we may live in pease, and to enable others to gain stable societies.

  4. nuke gingrich says:

    great post Angel. :)
    Merry Christmas to you and all of your great readers.

  5. The MaryHunter says:

    Such an important post, Angel. So soon many of us forget those who are risking it all so that we and others might have liberty. As always, a superb post.

    God bless you and yours this Christmas Day, Angel! :D

  6. DONAL says:

    Hi hon! And Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah to you and yours! The dressing is made, the cranberry-orange jello is done, the mince pie is in the oven! I hope you have a TERRIFIC Christmas–it’s been wonderful knowing you, and I hope to get to know you better in 2007!

    Love, DONAL

  7. kerwin says:

    All I can do is say thank you.

  8. Angel says:

    Thank you sweet friends…you make it all seem worthwhile…. :)

  9. KKarrLLmMm says:

    Please remember, as we sit in the comfort of our homes and celebrate the Holidays with our friends and family…we are not in a bomb shelter or underground in a cave hiding from our enemies…because we are protected by the armed forces of the United Staes of America…LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT..
    Blessing to you Angel…..keep up the good work….

  10. beth says:

    Merry Christmas Angel! I got to speak to my son for a minute today – very brief but nice to hear his voice!

    Hope you and your family are having a very Merry Christmas.

  11. kevin says:

    Another great post Angel, you never fail to spark interest.

  12. Christi says:

    Merry Christmas, Angel! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year!

  13. K T Cat says:

    Merry Christmas, Angel!

  14. Night Rider says:

    I just wish that our soldiers could take a harder line stance and not be held back by any of that bureaucracy mush-mouth that seems to be so prevalent here in our own Government.

  15. Angel says:

    Thanks y’all for the precious comments! :)

  16. Brooke says:

    God bless these young men… I hope all went well for them!

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