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Sgt. Mike Haddle, 24, center, reads a Bible while Cpl. Osmar Araujo, 22, right, bows his head in prayer before Easter Sunday service held in the pavilion at the headquarters base for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Sgt. Mike Haddle, 24, center, reads a Bible while Cpl. Osmar Araujo, 22, right, bows his head in prayer before Easter Sunday service held in the pavilion at the headquarters base for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)
Sgt. Mike Haddle, 24, center, reads a Bible while Cpl. Osmar Araujo, 22, right, bows his head in prayer before Easter Sunday service held in the pavilion at the headquarters base for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Sgt. Mike Haddle, 24, center, reads a Bible while Cpl. Osmar Araujo, 22, right, bows his head in prayer before Easter Sunday service held in the pavilion at the headquarters base for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)
Navy Chaplain (Lt.) Lee Brown holds up a yellow plastic Easter egg, now empty (since he’d already eaten the M&Ms inside.) He used the empty egg as an analogy for Jesus’ tomb, empty on the third day because the Lord had been resurrected.
Navy Chaplain (Lt.) Lee Brown holds up a yellow plastic Easter egg, now empty (since he’d already eaten the M&Ms inside.) He used the empty egg as an analogy for Jesus’ tomb, empty on the third day because the Lord had been resurrected. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)
Navy Chaplain (Lt.) Lee Brown always deploys with his camouflage-covered “combat chaplain kit,” equipped with the essentials for conducting religious events, such as vestment and cross, chalice.
Navy Chaplain (Lt.) Lee Brown always deploys with his camouflage-covered “combat chaplain kit,” equipped with the essentials for conducting religious events, such as vestment and cross, chalice. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – On this Easter Sunday, CWO2 Steve Dancer told his Marines to surrender.

“Surrender yourself to Him,” he said to the roughly 40 Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines who attended the Easter morning service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Surrender is a hard thing for Marines to understand, I know.”

Special days, holidays or times such as the birthday of a loved one back home, are harder on deployed troops, said Navy Chaplain (Lt.) Lee Brown.

“It’s harder to be away for those significant events in the life of a family. Many times, days like Easter, are closely related to family. And this will be another one of those days when they’ll look back and say ‘I was gone again.’”

On Saturday night, a copy of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” was aired at the U.S. and coalition bases, each facility taking a turn.

“I think it’s great. All of us are so far away from home on Easter and it’s our second time,” said Sgt. William Smith, 32, with Combined Anti-Armor Tactics Platoon, Weapons Company, 3-8.

“Showing it tonight makes us stop and think what Jesus went through. I read the Bible, but you don’t get that same sense of the pain he went through as watching the spikes being driven through his hands,” Smith said of the scene when the Romans nail Jesus to the cross. “That gives you a realistic sense of the pain.”

Some wondered how a copy of the film, not yet available for release on DVD or video, made its way to Haiti. But he didn’t question it.

“Whoever got this, however they got this, it was a good idea,” said Lance Cpl. Eugene Strohl, 20. “This pavilion has never been filled like this. This is a way for Marines to get closer together. We have no family. All we have is each other.”

“I have to be honest, it put a tear in my eye,” said Sgt. Jesse Garcia. “I felt the mother’s (Virgin Mary’s) pain. When I went to Iraq, that’s what my mom went through.”

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