Full Circle - Forward
This will be my last post.
I am back at my desk in my office at Cornell. After returning to New York a month of travel, work on the house, XboX, and general malaise when there was nothing else to do passed by rather quickly. I am glad to be back to work.
Over the last month everyone I meet asks the same two questions in one form or another, "how was it" and "how are we doing over there?"
The answer to the first part always goes like this, "it sucked." I think to say anything else would be lying. To say it was the most rewarding, or scariest, loneliest, boring experience of my life, or any other adjective, doesn't quite hit the right chord and isn't necessarily true. Describing nine months away from family and friends plus having to deal with the challenges of day to day life and death over there the word suck floats right to the top.
The second answer surprises most people I speak to. Yes, we are making a difference. However, I tell them, the Iraqi people are meeting more and more of the challenges before them. Mover over, the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police are gradually gaining the confidence to become effective. I remind people that the IA and IP use methods that we would never dare to. All of the populace may not like it, but they understand it and comply.
I also tell people that had it not been for the genuine act of bravery of the people in January as they went out and voted, I would think that Iraq is a lost cause. But...The people did vote and their voice was heard. They shocked the world who doubted so much. That spirit; wherever it came from, however it rose to the surface, is still there in the people and they are waiting to show the world again that they will rise to the occasion.
I throw in a couple of good will stories about the schools we have fixed, the water towers we built and finish with the standard line that it will take a long while for true results to be seen and felt locally and globally. As it did in Germany. As it did in Japan. As it did in America when we won our freedom.
People thank me and welcome me home and I continue on my way. Those exchanges are happening every day and probably will for a while to come. I don't mind. I think that one responsibility Soldiers have is to recount the positive things they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to remind the public that the cause is still worthy.
Do I miss being over there? Not at all. I try to keep up with the news from the FOB just to know how people are doing over there. Other than that I do not follow the news from Iraq that much. I guess I just don't want to see it right now.
I am so glad to be home.
Getting life in order and getting into a routine is the next big task for me. That will be hard with my wedding coming up in two months; a joyous occasion that I am gleefully looking forward to. Once that event is over with, then, maybe, things will settle down.
The first step in getting going occurred today by coming back to Cornell and sitting down to my desk and reclaiming it for myself. I started my blog from this desk. It seems only fitting that I end it here.
I have reconnected with my daughter, who just turned eight years old. She is wiser and more mature than other kids her age. This in part because of the way her mother and I raised her. Another part is because of the 9 months I was away from her. Every once in a while a question will come out of the blue, "were you scared?", or, "do you have to go back?", or, "why can't you just quit?" Sam missed me and she lets me know it. She is pretty free with her affection for her father, and I in turn show her the same amount of love and devotion. I hope for her sake that I do not have to ever go again. In the event that I do I know that she has the strength to meet the challenge.
I am off to go get Lisa from the airport. She has been on a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands as a camp counselor. Although we reconnected before she left we now have nothing to pull us apart from one another.
Another chapter in my life is unfolding with her. As Iraq becomes more of a memory and my marriage to her gets closer I look forward to writing the rest of the story with her.