Debbie Lee, whose son Marc Alan Lee was the first Navy Seal killed in Iraq, is now in Bagdad with Danny Gonzalez, and Mary Pearson of Move America Forward. They are still trying to get into Ramadi, where Marc was killed, and where they have named a camp in his honor. Debbie is living for the moment she can see Camp Marc Lee.
The military is a mess with trying to get media into Iraq. From what I have been told, there's a rift between Centcom and the Army over who has control of applications and paperwork. It's causing a giant hassle for people who are trying to get 'inside the sandbox' and it's not generating a lot of goodwill.
Anyway, it was the middle of the night when Debbie wrote to me.
"Merry Christmas Mel! We are okay, tired but doing well. Mary is starting to get a little sick. I think I personally I have given out at least 2000 Christmas Cards and loved on soooooooooo many of the troops. I'm starting to get attached to some of the boys. It's amazing the difference they have made in their area of operation.
I have had to resubmit embed applications twice trying to get to Ramadi. Sorry I haven't written much. I'm so spent at the end of the day that there isn't much my brain can produce.
Today was amazing with the troops. Mary and I attended church this morning then went to the chow hall for dinner. They had amazing ice scupltures, carved breads, and carved fruit creatures. We then went out on patrol and greeted families in the neighborhoods where they patrol.
We then went over to the COP (coalition outpost) and had dinner in the mess tent and had a communion service with about 30 of the guys stationed there. It seemed like Christmas to me singing carols and reading the Christmas story. Just outside of the COP was a slum house where a very poor family lived. The first day we went out we dropped off backpacks for the kids. They are so poor and were filthy, but that didn't stop me from tightly hugging each one of them.
We stopped there today and the Col gave them a framed picture of the family they had taken the other day. While we were there was a prominent leader and Doctor from the neighborhood we had visited. We visited a little more and I gave him Marc's card an shared what he had done. He told me Marc was a hero to Iraq and that he would never forget and was so sorry for my loss. He told me he would be putting Marc's picture on the wall so next time I returned I could see it.
After we left the COP I started wondering what he meant and questioned the Major who was in the HMMVW. He told me about the murals that were being painted on the walls to spruce up the neighborhood. This man is going to have a larger than life mural of Marc painted to honor and remember him. Oh my gosh!!! Anyway Mel I really need to get some sleep. I love and miss you and we have you here in spirit with us!!"