Monday, February 20, 2006

...And thus, the Chapter Ends.

This will be my last post for a while as I will soon begin the much-anticipated trek back to the States. My mind is spinning as I reflect back on everything that has transpired during my six months here and I hope that this post turns out to be more than a collection of scatter-brained thoughts and comments. It is extremely difficult to meld six months chock full of life-changing events into a few coherent, sensible paragraphs. But I shall do my best. Also, please understand that so many are giving so much here, and I do not want to give the impression that I am doing, or have done anything more than anyone else. We are all knee-deep in our duties here, and we are all facing, or will eventually face, the same realities which I am going to share.

So much has been gained here, so much has been lost. So many memories, so much I wish I could erase from my memory. Iraq will be a different country than it was when I arrived, and I will leave a different person; although how different, only time and reacquainting with friends and family will tell. But I can say without reservation that Iraq is a better country than it was before I landed. I have helped rid several cities of insurgents during all out, multi-week combat operations. It will be a long time before I fully come to grips with everything that has happened to me during these past six months. I have been introduced to and at times, fully immersed in the stark realities of war. I have seen the horrors of war. I have been shot at. I have had cars and buildings blow up all around me. I have walked down streets cluttered with the horrors of destruction. I have seen the necessity of war. I have seen children walking to their newly rebuilt school. I have seen ladies carrying their newborn babies to freshly stocked clinics. I have seen families liberated from captivity by insurgents in their own homes. I have seen both the necessity and the horrors of it, and how much it has affected me and my personality, time will tell.

I have said it before, and I will say it again…Your Marines are some of the hardest working, dedicated individuals that the world has ever seen. We have once again answered the call to duty, and performed some of the most challenging and difficult duties faced by mankind. Some of the men whom I’ve worked with here are not even a year out of high school…amazing. But yet they conduct themselves with a professionalism and maturity that is a rarity anywhere. I wish you all could witness for yourselves what it is I am trying to describe. I have been astonished time and time again by the bravery and selflessness of the boys whom I’ve fought with. Our country is in great hands and I am at peace knowing that I leave our mission here to their charge.

It is with a heavy heart that I leave my brothers here to fight without me. Part of me wants to stay here until our mission is accomplished; but the Corps has told me that at least for the time, my mission here has been accomplished. I will soon be reunited with my wife and daughters and will once again be able to continue my most important mission...being a husband to my wife and a father to our children.

Finally, I want to offer my heart-felt thanks to all those who have prayed, sent letters, packages, and thoughts my way. They have been such a support and encouragement and I can’t thank you enough. I wish you could see the Marines walking from the Post Office with a letter or package from home. It just makes you smile…it made me smile. Thanks again and please stay in the fight…we need you.


sheila said...

I only recently discovered your site, and have been really impressed with your thoughtful postings. I wish you a safe home and I hope you enjoy the time you will get to spend with your family.

Tara said...

I can't wait to meet you. Have a safe trip home!

Stacy said...

Thanks for serving our country, and have a safe trip back to the states soldier.

Barb said...

I'm glad you'll soon be coming home to your family and friends. You and all of your brothers continue to amaze me with your strength and character. I'm sorry that you and they were called to war, but glad you were ready, and happy to know you've seen some of the fruits of that labor already.

Travel safe!

CJ said...

Have a safe trip home to your family. I hope all the transitions will go smoothly. Thank you for your postings. They, and you, are an inspiration to me. Thank you for all you've given and done--for walking the line for the rest of us. You make us PROUD! God bless you beyond measure. I hope you will post when you get home to let us know that you are safe.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Thank you. You may never know how much your service is appreciated. I have really enjoyed reading your thoughts. Take care.

Bob C. said...

Thank you for your service! That cannot be said too much. Thanks to you and all our Marine brothers who have accomplished so much in the cause of freedom. All of you continue in our prayers that God will keep you in the Hollow of His Hand. So glad you can again hold your family in your arms. We thank them for their service - service that is just as necessary as service in battle. You all truly represent all of “American's Son’s” - precious to us and valiant in the cause of liberty.
Semper Fi,

Cheryl Friend said...

God speed!

Huntress said...

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

Mission Accomplished!
Well Done!
Now fall out and fall in on your family.

Cheryl said...

Glad you are making it home safely. Thanks for all you did in service to our great country. It's always nice to read that our care packages have an impact on our heroes!! I'll pray your journey home is a safe and speedy one! God bless you.

proud fan said...

Thank you so much for your service.

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