December 24, 2006
MP's, Entertainers to Spend Christmas with the Troops in Kandahar
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN--Canadian troops in Kandahar got a surprise visit today from a Canadian group which includes Canada's Defence Chief, a Cabinet Minister, two Members of Parliament, three well-known entertainers, a news anchor and a Quebec Rock Group.
The group will be spending Christmas in Kandahar with Canada's 2,500 troops, development workers, police and diplomats.
Gen. Rick Hillier celebrated with his family a week ago so he could spend Christmas with Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The chief of the defence staff flew yesterday to the patrol frigate HMCS Ottawa in the Persian Gulf to start a whirlwind holiday tour. Hillier brought along some entertainment, including comedians Rick Mercer and Mary Walsh and the Montreal rock band Jonas. Shoehorning a family Christmas into his schedule was one thing, finding time for shopping for his wife, Joyce, two sons and grandson Jack was another. "I had to beg forgiveness based on future recompense," he said.
Gen. Rick Hillier shakes hands with most of the soldiers, asking some if they were getting enough sleep and teasing another about his spiky hair.
I know many Military Moms wish they could be there as well (serving up the coffee, putting out the turkey, wearing Santa hats) - but I know our hearts are there with our troops always.
The holiday season is far from the minds of soldiers working in the field, who say they're focused on the job at hand. Back at the base, however, there are Christmas decorations in the main eating area.
Some soldiers said their families held early Christmas gatherings before they left for Afghanistan in November. One soldier who is heading home in February said his family members planned to keep their tree up until then. (I believe many parents and families will be doing the same)