I have Soldiers all around me who are telling me, with great delight, "I have only five more days and a wake-up," or "I have two more days and a wake-up."
They are, of course, referring to how much time they have left here before they can get on a plane and get out of here.
Unfortunately, the number of days has been growing rather than shrinking. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it is a source of consternation and frustration and confusion and sadness for many of my colleagues.
With all this talk about "a wake-up" I've been thinking lately of how we wake up around here.
This place is so "garrisonized" that they sound Reveille every morning at 0600. When I was in Chaplain School, the U.S. flag (the National Colors) was raised each morning at the time Reveille sounded. Every morning we did PT at 0500 we'd have to stop what we were doing, come to attention, and "present arms" at the first notes of the tune.
Here in Kosovo, since the flag flies 24 hours per day, only the bugle call sounds.
At 0600 that's not so bad if I'm already up, but it's less than optimal on those rare occasions when I get to sleep in.
I can't remember any of the thirty-some Camps, Posts, Joint Security Stations, Forward Operating Bases, Patrol Bases, etc. in Iraq on which Reveille was sounded last year when then-SFC McG and I were there.
I guess this is just one of the many differences between this deployment and my year in Iraq!
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ