Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Leif's 26th Christmas 2000 - Manhattan, Kansas - Almost 26 years old
What a difference five years makes. In January 1998, Leif had enlisted in the army, as an infantryman, completed his basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and been stationed at Ft. Drum, NY. He had trained with UN troops in Uzbekistan and served as a peacemaker in Bosnia. When he came back in the spring of 2000, he found his marriage was in trouble and by August Nikko had left him at Ft. Drum to go back to Kansas.
We flew Leif home to Kansas for Christmas with us and the rest of the family, but you could see that he was not the same exuberant, happy young man he once had been. We were happy to have him there, and I know it was better by far for him than being alone and lonely at Fort Drum, but it must have been difficult to head back there again the in the dead of winter, alone, with his cold weather asthma and the misery his platoon sergeant was giving him. He didn't let on much to us at that time, seemed subdued, but in his code of not showing weakness, he "took it like a man."
At least he could come home for Christmas still in those days, though we nearly lost him to his despondency that winter.
At a concert, the song, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" got to us this month, as we realized that he will never be home for Christmas again.