For the first time in my life I get the sense of longing and loneliness the Christian GI's get on Christmas.
What the hell am I doing here? Why am I in this hell-hole? Why am I lonely? Why, dear God, is time standing so still?
I am well over the hump, but to put a figure to the days before I go home is to merely illustrate how long it is before that glorious day.
There aren't even any other Jews here for me to share the day with, and I haven't celebrated the Sabbath since early January.
I have a little prayer book, one with the High Holiday services in it, and I read through it after breakfast. That took me all of an hour, and then I was faced with what to do with the rest of the day. A day not filled with song and prayer, and the good greetings and wishes of friends. A day that we won't finish services early at the reform Temple B'Nai Israel and go to the Orthodox Shul to sit with Grandma. A day, as a kid, Eddie Friedberg, Buzzie Rosenbloom, would take off from school, and feel a little guilty because we weren't in class with our friends. A day of lunch with friends, and games in the afternoon with our families.
Instead, I spend the day in this hot, humid, dusty hell hole, at the battalion - could it be I was feeling sorry for myself? Hell, Yes! If I were honest, Hell Yes!
Sgt Phong, my interpreter, asks if I am OK, and I respond by telling him the Fuck Off! Geeze, am I in a mood!
Oh, yeah! Major Mong came in about 1500 and told me two of our men were killed today trying to clear a blown bridge. No enemy around, no booby trap, just the bad luck of being on twisted metal when something gave way under their weight, crushing the life out of them. These are the first casualties we have since TET.
Happy Fucking New Year!