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January 03, 2005

Landstuhl Christmas

Diana Hartman sends this report:

a major army deployment returned to the germany area at the height of christmas package arrivals through the post office (hundreds of soldiers mailed stuff home that wouldn't fit in duffle bags) so many packages to families were delayed and didn't arrive until after christmas to include some of the packages of cards...

many american families in this area had two christmases -- one on the 25th, and one on the day all the packages came in...

we are all military families who are used to celebrating christmas on another day, so the extra day of opening gifts was quite special...this same specialness was shared with the wounded at landstuhl who had a party on the 17th to include pizza and a card shower, celebrations on the 25th, and another card shower this last thursday on 30 dec...whoever was here on the 17th would've been stateside by the 25th...whoever was here on the 25th would've been stateside by the 30th...between the marine liaisons and the families of marine forces europe, we were able to provide celebrations for whatever marines were in the hospital on each of those days...bethesda and walter reed also held celebrations so while the guys got at least one party, they celebrated in two different places...

this latest visit to the wounded coincided with my husband, robert, dr's appt...he suffered an injury in iraq last year and has had work done since then...this last thursday was the appt where he had the pins in his toes removed and hopefully this means he will be able to walk without pain for a good long while although he will still wear a boot for a few more months...he was getting impatient with his doctor as he wanted to visit the wards with us as he does with his every appointment but just not this latest time...he was able to hang out with the outpatients in the marine liaison's office though so that was a good time for all of them...

my 18 yr old daughter and her boyfriend justin (usmc cpl, camp pendleton) were able to fly in for christmas so they went with us and toured the wards as well...as a mother, it was hard for me to have my daughter with me as there were many burn victims, some facial burns...i must've done something right when i raised her cos she got over her initial shock very quickly and had the guys smiling and laughing in no time...i was so proud!

as is always the case when robert visits with us, justin and the wounded marines had lots to talk about and were quite the chatterboxes...it's funny when there are more than 2 marines in a room because they seriously just yak and yak like old women at the fenceline and no one else is going to get a word in edgewise...justin and robert were in iraq last year for the same 7 months, and justin will be going back in february for 9 months...

as usual, the cards and letters from kids were the biggest hit with the guys...i've learned to keep tape with me as inevitably the guys will ask me to hang these cards and letters up on their wall or the door of their room...one room had 4 marines in it and they all wanted their things hung up on the door -- that was one decorated door -- and they insisted that the door stay open so they all could see the cards and letters...in that particular room the wall was textured and tape wouldn't stick so we hung the rest of the cards on the light covers behind their beds...i also provide each of them with a gallon-size ziploc bag so they can store their cards in them when they leave...no one leaves their cards behind and this gives them a way to keep them so they don't get mangled in their baggage...

the dec 17th party was a great success...many marines from (marforeurhq) marine forces europe headquarters here in stuttgart drove up to help set the whole thing up for their wounded brethren...donations allowed them and the marine liaison's office to set up a feast of american food in the chow hall for all the outpatients and those marines on the wards who were mobile enough to get there...by "feast" i don't mean turkey or ham and the fixin's...i mean the wounded were set up with what they requested: pizzas, hot dogs, meat and cheese platters with sub bread, and all the soda they could handle...i sent a lot of card packages down with the marforeur marines who helped out with that...my husband, who was still on crutches then, attended the chow hall party...

a female gysgt and i took stuff to the guys on the wards who were unable to get to the chowhall party...the chowhall didn't have a cart for us to tote stuff so one of the marine liaisons commandeered a wheelchair for us...we hauled 11 large pizzas, plates and napkins, goody bags, and card packages up to the wards...we piled the pizzas up in the chair part, hung the bags off the handles, and used the footrests as drink holders for the six packs of soda...we were quite the sight!...the soda had been chilled beforehand and was still cold by the end of the tour...we had one vegetarian pizza that had no takers til we got to the last guy who loved vegetarian pizza so he got the whole thing to himself...much to his delight, the nurses put the other half of his pizza in the fridge for him to eat later and he was most tickled that he would have pizza for breakfast for the first time in over a year...

i really appreciate your having taken the time and having made the effort that made so much difference for these guys...they love hearing from those in the states especially in the form of mail as everyone loves mail!

thank you so much for your support!

Posted by Deb at January 3, 2005 09:39 AM

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