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Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Memorials and Uniforms

Last night I went to Rustamiyah for a memorial ceremony. I’ve been to many of them lately.

During the ceremony, the National Anthem is always played at the beginning. Last night, something strange happened. As I was standing at attention, listening to the anthem, suddenly I was thinking about being at an Iowa Stars hockey game, listening to the National Anthem. I’m not sure why my mind drifted; it was probably because the anthem was being sung by a singer last night, as opposed to an instrumental version being played over the speaker system.

But I drifted away for a little bit, and thought about the joy of being at a hockey game, and then thought about how the Anthem will always mean something a little different to me after this year.

Then, I snapped back to Baghdad, and I was at the memorial again.

I don’t think this is completely uncommon. I believe many of the Soldiers over here will drift off and think about home, about what people back home are doing, about the things we want to do when we get home, and that sort of thing. It kind of keeps us grounded in reality.

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On another note, a couple people asked about the placement of the cross on my uniform. It IS there… it is above my name tape, over the left part of my chest. I have seen some chaplains wearing the cross at the place in which my rank is located (only on their body armor, though), and then they put the rank below the cross, but the correct wear of the uniform is to wear the rank in the middle of the chest, and then the cross goes over your name. In my regular uniform, my name is on the right side of my chest, and the cross is placed over the name tape on the right side of my chest. That is the standard.

As for the heat; yeah, it’s hot. Around 110-115 yesterday. But I’m not running around the streets kicking in doors, so I can’t complain! Our men and women running around all day in gear really have to struggle with the heat.

Truth be told, though, I don’t sweat as much here as back in the Midwest. It just isn’t humid most days. Every once in a while we’ll get some humidity, and then it’s miserable.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got back from 2 1/2 weeks of R&R (actually civilians call it a vacation!) to Yellowstone and the Black Hills. TV antenna in RV broke so I have been totally out of touch except for reading USA Today twice!

Here is what I have discovered:
--e-mails pile up when not attended to daily!
--My typing skills are very rusty!
--Our family had a blast seeing all the things God created and man has left alone--including coyote, 3 types of bear, elk, bison, deer, bald eagle and mountain goats. Coolest thing we watched was a mother coyote move her 9 pups from one den to another--it took about 2 hours and her housing choice was on a cliff of rocks.
--The stock market has been moving up and down, but guess it's still open. VISA is accepted EVERYWHERE! Gas can cost as much as $3.76 per gallon and as little as $2.92. A Chevy pickup gets 6 mpg when pulling a trailer at 82 mph. Montana apparently does not have state troopers.
--Canadians like to use the word "EH" a lot. I wonder what word they think we use a lot? I hope it doesn't begin with an F, but it might.
--George Armstong Custer really screwed up in his command!
--The pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail had more guts in one summer than I will ever have in a lifetime! There are places in Wyoming where you can still see the wagon ruts in the sandstone today--some 140 years later--and they are still 5 feet deep!

Sorry I missed the uniform quiz! I would have said the Captains bars really should be Major Leaf!

Haven't talked to MA in a while but will try to make contact. Hope all is well with you. It's June 16th and I have finally seen weather in the 90's! That is sort of a shock from the 70/40's of the mountains.

God Bless Chris--and hope to chat with you soon!

PAGGS

1:29 AM  
Blogger Recovering Wino said...

Hope you have a good day. The heat sounds terrible...

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris,

Your account of the memorial was touching. When they post the names on the news I pray as they come up on the screen but your account was in some way more real, I expect that will carry over next time names are on the news.

On a different topic. Yes, we do have hiway patrol in Montana. They have a lot of territory to cover so we don't see them a lot, usually just when you don't expect them. Until fairly recently we had no posted speed limit here but things like folks coming here to race became a problem. Sometimes it seems people forget that people live here because there aren't a lot of us. That is changing VERY fast though. A fellow from Colorado is trying to put in a subdivision that is literally the size of the town we live in just a mile from here and another is planning another the same size a block over from here.

As always Chris, thank you and the rest of the troops. What you guys do is sure humbling for folks like me.

God Bless,

Kate Person

10:30 AM  

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