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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?

You may ask, why do you serve? Is it for the college money, the steady job, the guaranteed salary? When I chose to be a soldier I had considered all of those things however, none of them were the reason that I had joined. Before I get to the why lets look at my history. My father had served in the army (in Vietnam), my grandfather had served in the army (during World War II), and my great grandfather had served in the army (during the Civil War). Nobody in my family made a big deal out of any of this though. None of them told me that I should or shouldn't join. I just thought that I should, like some unspoken tradition. So my reason was tradition along with a sense of patriotism which made up my mind. I took all this with me off to basic training (and when I got there the first thought that came to me was, "Oh, crud, what did I just do? This is definitely not for me!"). It was though, all of it, all for me and the hundreds of others who were there with me. It wasn't hard really when I look back, the hardest parts came after basic training. When I finished basic training I went to Monterey, CA for my Arabic language training. It was so beautiful there in Monterey. My daughter was born there, we lived a mile from the beach, and we were so very poor (with me trying to make it on the salary of an E-1 Private), but we were so happy (my family and I). Of course next came the path that led towards war.... WAR, such a simple word, just a single syllable, yet the images it brings to your mind go on for miles. They had struck us at our heart, on our own soil at the World Trade Center. I was ready, angry, and vengeful. I wanted war and I wanted to be a part of war, but Afghanistan wasn't for me, mine was waiting in Iraq, and my time came soon enough. Before I knew it I was there, part of the first troops to invade Iraq. We made history there, I was part of it. What did it feel like you ask? You may be surprised at the answer to this question. Of course there was the anger, excitement, loneliness, boredom, fear (oh yes, never a shortage of that when we had crossed the border), and also the happiness. We were protecting the world from WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. It is funny you know... Funny how life often comes full circle and you are again standing in the same place you started, yet this time you are perhaps a little wiser. I too came full circle. So here I am again in Iraq for my second time and still happy, not because of war though. War, that can transform people. You may think that I don't know what I am talking about. You may think that I just write this stuff to keep my sanity (you may even be right about that), but I say this, you don't have the full picture. I remember getting all my letters from home, some would tell me to get those Arabs, those towel heads, those terrorists, yet it is fear that breeds this way of thinking. Not intelligence, but fear of differences. You want me to let you in on a little secret? Ok, here it is. It isn't me that is afraid, I know what my bullets have done to other men. It it's not those soldiers who have had to shoot, or those who have REALLY been shot at that are afraid. It is those who don't have to see that we are all human. Those who's eyes never have to see the blood, death, or casualties. They call it all collateral damage... But let us return to my happiness. How could I possibly be happy over here? I am held longer in the army than my contract has stated (under the army's stop-loss policy). I am away from my family. I am in Iraq... My responce to these thoughts is simple. You can find happiness anywhere. I am happy for being alive (so many others have been less fortunate), for my health, for my wonderful wife and two beautiful children, for so many other great things that this list could go on and on.

Happiness can be found anywhere, even in a warzone.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

comments from ingrid:
It is so true you can find happiness anywhere. You are very wise and I am so glad that you have this blog to post your thoughts on You are able to give all of us a moment of truth in all of the chaos. It is so easy to be on the outside (civilian) and pass quick judgments on what we believe it the right thing I love you and pray for you everyday

A rap from the Ing-myster:
My big bother Zach he's got my back
eventhough he's all-the-way in Iraq
His family is back home
benny needs a bone
all I can do is call them on the phone
I wish I could be there and help them all out
bring zach attack home
then I would have no doubt
sad cow would be happy cow
and turn this world about

Anonymous said...

Hi ZibZab, How are you? I love you and say prayers for you every day. Keep the blog up, it's awesome! Lets do chat sometime? Love you, Mom xoxo