I can't believe my career in Iraq is drawing to a close. I have come to admire, respect, and love, yes, LOVE the American forces. They are everything I had hoped they would be and more. It has been an honor to live and work amongst them while they faithfully fulfill their duties to God, country, and their fellowman. From the basic infantryman up through the ranks and yes, even to our Chief Commander, we are in good shape. And so are the people of Iraq. Can you imagine them being in better hands?
I understand how imbedded reporters move from skeptics to fans, much to the horror of their compatriots. I understand why children swarm to meet soldiers. I understand why they are both feared and revered everywhere in the world. They come in all kinds, from conservative and quiet to wild and crazy heathens. But seemingly rooted in their cells is honor, duty, and the spirit of freedom. That is why even the most basic soldier can be sent out to do anything from fight to lead to direct to train the people of Iraq. By virtue of being born into liberty, we by instinct know what is foreign to Iraqis and teach them how to become a thriving democracy.
As for me, I gave my 30-days notice a few weeks back. (I am on month-to-month contract now that my initial year contract was fulfilled) When I leave here March 6th, I will have worked here 18 months. I have loved it. I have learned so much. It has been blessing after blessing. It is a sorrow/joy thing to leave. Sad that this chapter in my experiences is closing, glad to hob-knob among loved friends and family again. And the beach and snowboarding won't hurt either. Glad to look to see what the next chapter in my life will hold.
I hope to return, but for now, I can't believe my time here is done. I want to thank all of you for being interested in my stories and pictures, for sharing your thoughts and prayers, and for passing some good news along to others and back to me. It has meant so much to me! Wow, just hate to see it end. I will post a few more stories and photos if I can, but maybe check back every couple of months for a link to "Return to Iraq" or some such future blog? Talk to you soon...