Sunday, December 24, 2006

24 December 2006, Christmas Eve.
Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year. I have had reason to not be fond of it at all, and could even bare an excuse to avoid it all together. "God is good, all the time" as Ben would say at his blog site. My mother passed away on Christmas Eve 14 years ago. God is good. God replaced that lost with the birth of my daughter, Miss Dub, who was born on November 4th, just in the nick of time for the holiday season. So I got a reason to be thankful, to feel blessed, and to enjoy Christmas as much as I always have. On Christmas Eve around 1800 - 1830 hrs, I stop what I'm doing and talk to my mom, just for a few moments. Then I go back to celebrating the meaning of Christmas, the Birth of Christ, my family, my friends and of course, wait eagerly for Christmas morning to see what Santa brought me.
Now with that out of the way, As I logged on tonight, I found one of those stories that our fine media slips up every once and a while and publishes. This one I found in Yahoo News. I won't get on the soap box tonight, but this story brings hope to all here in Afghanistan, and it helps me realize even more how much more that us as a Nation, as a world, are bringing freedom and hope to this country. For those of you who wanted to see what Al Franken had in store for me, you'll have to wait one more day. This story should be the headlines all over the world. It's simple, but it speaks so loudly to me.

By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - In devoutly Muslim Afghanistan, Christmas is like any other day — people go to work, there are no blinking lights lining the streets and pine trees remain unadorned — except on Flower Street, where local tree vendors are making an extra buck from the foreigners' holiday.
Located in the heart of Kabul, Flower Street is different at Christmas from any other time of year, transformed into a festive place full of trees decked with multicolored tinsel garlands and lights.
"After the Taliban, we started to make Christmas trees because lots of foreigners are around, and they are asking for them," said Eidy Mohammad as he decorated a tree at his shop, the Morsal Flower Store. "Business is growing — we had only the wedding season before, but now we have Christmas as well."
Unlike many non-Christian countries in Asia, Afghanistan does not recognize or celebrate Christmas. But thousands of foreigners who live in Kabul working with the
United Nations, non-governmental organizations or international military forces, celebrate the holiday quietly in restaurants and behind military barracks.
Many shop at Flower Street for their holiday trees.
"Christmas is a good season for flower stores in Kabul," Mohammad said, adding that during the Taliban's rule, nobody was allowed to make Christmas trees in Kabul.
He has sold about a dozen Christmas trees, earning anywhere from US$20 to US$200 — a hefty sum for Afghans, many of whom make only about US$50 a month. The trees are from across Afghanistan and are adorned with Chinese-made artificial materials.
"I was amused when I saw trees with lights," said 29-year-old Abdul Qader. He thought the lit-up trees were a new fad in Afghan home deco, but he later found out they were for Christmas.
"They looked beautiful to me," he said with a smile.

Had this story gotten out earlier, I would have attempted to go and take pictures and shop there. I have been on flower street before, walking into the flower shops, the corner stores. It is a marvel unto itself in such a war-torn country. May they continue in their freedoms.
Be safe and remember to give extra kisses and hugs to your loved ones. Have a Merry Christmas. Did I mention that I'm having a white Christmas this year, it started snowing today at about 2 p.m. It's beautiful.


Sarge Charlie said...

Wishing you and your men the very best Christmas holiday possiable, please thank you to all of them.

The old sarge

Sarge Charlie said...

Oh btw I copied some of your 2Lt post for my Christmas day post.

The Sil said...

She is always in our hearts and minds this time of year also. At times it seems so long ago and others, it seems like yesterday. She would have been worried sick about you, but she also would have been very proud of you for serving your country. I know that she is a beautiful angel now, and is always watching over and caring for her "boys". She will be with you always.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

miss dub and laura bush and i all have the same birthday, nov 4th.

my mom died last dec. 20th while sarge was in another hospital having a pacemaker installed. and son was on a crack run. that was quite a year! but this year was much better y'all... (sigh)

snow? good for you sgt! merry Christmas! and your family too!

Josie said...

Sgt Dub, I saw your post on Michael's blog, and I just wanted to pop over to say Merry Christmas. We have Canadian troops in Afghanistan too, so if you see any, please say Josie says Merry Christmas.

You have a great blog, and what a wonderful post. Sort of makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?

Merry Christmas,

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Merry Christmas!

Odat said...

I too saw your comment over at Michael C's Wonderful World of Nothing...and wanted to say Merry Christmas to you and all over there and to also thank you for being there! Hope you get home soon!

Michael C said...

That is a great story! Wow, a white christmas, huh? What's that? Here in Southern California, the closest I get to a white Christmas is the fake white fluff people decorate their yards with. Have a Merry Christmas!

Mimi Lenox said...

Merry Christmas! Your story touched my heart and I made mention of the Christmas trees and snow in my post today. May you find meaningful peace and joy in your calling. We are grateful for what you do and appreciate your dedication. Send us some snow!

MrsDub said...

Dear Dub, we are attempting to survive Christmas without you (again) and it is just awful! We went to church today and they recognized all the soldiers who were present - many were in uniform. Everyone stood and applauded and Miss Dub and I both cried. We miss you so much and we miss Grandma Merilyn too. Hope you'll be able to call us tonight. Merry Christmas and we love you so much!! Mrs & Miss Dub

just me said...

White christmas, great! Wishing you and family God's richest blessings this christmas and for the new year

catnapping said...

I feel so sad that we are corrupting yet another culture with our warped values.

A Merry Merry to you and yours, and a cool Yule. I hope that you can try to keep your culture-hero's (Jesus) teachings in mind when interacting with people you come in contact with.

Sarge Charlie said...

Mrs Dub, My heart cries for you, have the best holiday possible, pray for a safe return and a happy life thereafter.

The old sarge

the bro said...

I wanna know who put you at attention like that. Merry Christmas Dub.

Desert Songbird said...

My father died at 6:30 am Christmas Day 1986 while I was holding his hand, so I can empathize with your loss.

You have remarkable outlook on life, sgtdub.

Stay safe.

Sanni said...

Merry (belated) Christmas! May your 2007 be filled with happiness and blessings galore =)

My Peace Globe is up, too! Thanks for stopping by - pax vobiscum