Seasons Greetings From Kandahar
The holiday season is upon us; where did all the time go? Here at Kandahar Airfield, there is a cool crispness in the air as service members from around the globe shop for last minute presents at the local Afghan gift shops. Brightly colored decorations adorn the stores, offices, and chow halls while creative signs are posted everywhere boasting the upcoming days of games and festivities.
Like in the states, it started the day after Thanksgiving here when the P/X store had a Black Friday sale. I was sure to take advantage of the opportunity and stock up on some soap and Q-tips. A couple of days ago there was caroling on the boardwalk with all troops encouraged to join in on the singing. And now of course, the USO is planning plenty of events to celebrate the holidays. On Christmas Eve, the generous volunteer staff members are hosting a cookie and cupcake decorating session with a tricycle race course thrown into the mix for later in the afternoon. And on Christmas, they will be offering morning pancakes followed by pictures with Santa; a holiday party; and the pièce de résistance, an ugly sweater contest. Obviously, that was the first thing I packed when I knew I was going overseas! However, I have yet to find someone airing "A Christmas Story" marathon for 24 hours starting on December 24th.
Additionally, charities like Trees for Troops and Trees-4-Branches ship over small live pines for Soldiers in order to bring them some joy and help them get into the holiday spirit. Here is one that an officer from a Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Spin Boldak, Kandahar received recently. Unfortunately, she only had her reflective belt at the time to trim the tree, but nonetheless, it was quite a cheery addition to her office. Of course, more sparse bases like the one in the Daman District of Kandahar won't have access to such merry-making, but they will still celebrate the holiday. The cook (whose name also happens to be Cook) is planning on making a big feast for the Soldiers on Christmas, and they have already received a myriad of treats from care packages that loved ones have sent their way.
While nothing compares to being at home and sharing a delicious meal with friends and family, the deployed troops stay positive and make the most out of what they can while they continue their mission. From here at Kandahar Airfield, I want to wish all of the Spirit of America supporters a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!
Afghanistan Field Rep