Sunrise Service in a Danger Pay Area…..

If you look at the post title and ask, “Huh?”, let me take a moment to explain. The term may actually be different now since I have been retired from the Army for a number of years. Military members deploy all the time as a normal part of service – there are assignments to foriegn countries and major war games that are played, many humanitarian type projects that a lot of people are unaware of, etc., The continuing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have altered that balance somewhat, but the point is that when you deploy to an area where there is an environment in which someone may be actively trying to kill you, it is designated as a Danger Pay area for administrative purposes.

When my husband and I deployed to Desert Shield, which preceded Desert Storm, as logisticians we were not in the forward combat units. We did have a few SCUD missiles launched in our direction although never close enough to cause damage in our particular locations. And although the actual combat part was over fairly quickly, redeploying hundreds of thousands of troops and equipment is not a rapid matter, plus it was only right that the units that had arrived in-country were scheduled to depart first. All of this is to say that we were in the desert of Saudi Arabia for Easter that year. I do not regularly attend church services, but I do often go to an Easter Sunrise service.

That Easter morning, I joined my brothers and sisters in arms as we gathered in the sands of a desert that had been there thousands of years. We were in a part of the world where three major religions began and in that quiet dawning, if you looked out on the expanse of sand and sky, it looked much the same as it would have in the time of Christ. We removed our helmets, standing with them tucked under an arm or dangling from curled fingertips and said a prayer for those who had been lost, and a prayer hoping that no more would be. It was a short service as the sun rose in the sky, the soft morning colors transforming into the bright blue of the day.

Tomorrow, those soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen who are deployed in harm’s way will gather for a similar service and I will send a prayer for their sakes. It is not only them though, but also their friends and families who wait for their safe return. And I will include in the prayer the people everywhere who are tired of war and conflict, who genuinely want to live their lives in peace. May we chose to take that path someday.

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