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US Marine Corporal Timothy M. Gibson, 23, of Merrimack, N.H.

Postmarked Jan. 20, 2005

Dear Tom + Patty,
     How you guys doing? I'm doing all right here. Christmas was weird. I woke up Christmas morning remembering how we used to celebrate Christmas back home. Remember me and Pat used to run into your room at like 4:30 and even though you were pissed you got up anyways? Here we would go run into mom + dad's room and dad would make us wait while he made coffee and mom would get the camera ready. and then after we opened our presents, mom would make cinnamon rolls. I was remembering all that stuff getting on a truck at 5:00 a.m. heading back out to the city. We were clearing more houses, driving through mud up to the hood of a Humvee, setting up barb wire. It wasn't too fun. So that was my Christmas. New Years was even better. At midnight the whole city started shouting at once. I thought we were under attack but it was all the Marines saying "Happy New Year," that's all. Then about an hour later someone started shooting at us. We had tanks, grenades. M-16s all going at once. We had our own private fireworks show. That was pretty cool. Not much has been going on since then, and I pray it stays like that till we leave here.
     I'm now at a humanitarian site providing security while other Marines hand out chow and water. We got probably about 2,000 civilians a day, and to me and the other guys who have been here since the beginning of the attack, they're all suspect. Everyone we see we're thinking, "This (expletive) probably shot at us last week and now we're giving him food." It sucks but there ain't nothing we can do about it so we just sit back and watch.
     I wanted to thank you guys for the package. I don't think Jack Daniels ever tasted so good. The other stuff in the package was good as well. Thank you again. I can't wait to see you guys when I get home. I'll see you guys soon. love you guys.
     love, Tim
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