Bedtime Stories from Afghanistan

By Beacon Staff

Sometimes it’s easy to forget about war. To turn off the television and go about your daily life, unaffected by what’s happening across the ocean. To detach from the stories you read, the soldiers, the body counts and bombs.

But about once every two weeks I get a wake up call. It comes in the form of an e-mail, sent by a friend (we used to work together as leaders for a high school youth group) who is a battalion chaplain in Afghanistan. And this week, the wake up call came with an opportunity.

Don has an idea, and he needs help. He’d like to start a program with his battalion where each soldier with children at home is recorded reading a bedtime story to their children. The recording will be burned to a DVD and sent home along with the storybook to their kids. The battalion has more than 200 soldiers with children, and would need close to 500 books for each child to receive their own story.

Don is asking for people to send gently used or new children’s books to:

CH (CPT) Don Williamson
FOB Kalagush
HHB, 4-319th AFAR (TF King)
APO AE 09354

In another recent e-mail Don talked about the difficulty of sleeping alone, after 15 years of sleeping with his wife, and about missing his own kids. “My daughters had been wondering when I would be able to tell them a bedtime story, so I made sure to stay up a little later than usual in order to call back home and tell them one. Sue (his wife) put her cell phone on speaker and put it in the middle of the room so the girls could hear the story. And I had a lot of fun telling it. Hannah has often told me that whenever I do that, “It’s like you are right here telling it!” But I have to admit, it also made me a little homesick.”

So, for nights Don isn’t able to stay up late to make a bedtime story call home, maybe the rest of us can help his daughters feel like he is still “right here telling it.”