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December 9th: Camouflaged Navy SEALs rise from the waves lapping the Somali coast. Sudden flashes shine in the dark. They are inundated– not by bullets– but by hundreds of reporters in what is hailed as one of the most publicized events of all time. 

Somalia, a country in the Horn of Africa, has a long and complicated history of brutal civil war and unrest. In 1991, the collapse of the country’s government led to a power vacuum that sparked a brutal civil war. The country was divided into several factions, each vying for control. 

The situation soon became a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people facing famine and disease. The United Nations urged nations to “use all necessary means to establish as soon as possible a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia.”

Somali refugees are fed an aid station setup for Operation Restore Hope

The next day President Bush declared that he would send ground troops to secure Somalia, with the mission to pave the way for trucks of food and relief.

“Today, you see is a new day for Somalia– the beginning of a new era.”

Christmas Miracle: Convoy of Hope

December 20th: The Navy SEALS, subdued the Civil War in less than two weeks. The stability that US troops provided meant that peaceful trucks filled with food and relief could reach the Somali people.

 “For the first time in months, a convoy of trucks reaches Baidoa, an interior city. The convoy carries 300 tons of wheat. Seventy armed Marines stand vigil on 20 military vehicles that accompany the 20 grain trucks during the grueling 156-mile, seven-hour journey from Mogadishu. A helicopter gunship patrols overhead as the slow-moving convoy dodges countless gigantic potholes and passes thousands of waving Somalis in villages and towns.”

–Tampa Bay News

Nearing Christmas Day, “About 1,000 U.S. Marines and French soldiers snake out of Mogadishu in columns at dawn in a push into Somalia’s famished interior.”

The end of Civil War & the beginning of an era

Less than a week later the US ends years of bloody Somali civil war, “With U.S. Marine helicopter gunships flying overhead, Somalia’s two main clan leaders tell a huge, cheering throng that the country’s two-year civil war is over. Gen. Mohamed Farrah Aidid and his rival, self-proclaimed interim President Ali Mahdi Mohamed, make the declarations of peace at a massive rally on the Green Line that divides the two camps and the capital,” the Tampa Bay Times Reports.