Wednesday, March 22, 2006
So I was out running this afternoon taking in the sweet, fragrant Hawaiian air (have I said today that it's great to be back in the States?) when I saw something that made me smile. I saw a man sitting by himself at a stoplight in his outrageously overpriced sportscar...laughing. Seven months ago, I wouldn't have given this man a second glance. But friends, let me tell you, these are the things that you are drawn to and that seem unique after every motorist that you have seen for the past seven months has nothing but the fear of death in his eyes...a man laughing in his automobile.
We truly don't realize how much we have been given here in America. We take so much for granted and our perception of the world is so conditioned by the lifestyles that we have been blessed with. And at the risk of sounding pious, you never can fully appreciate what we have until your comfort zone is completely shattered and you are given the opportunity to see how the other half of our world is being forced to live. It's one of those things that I can try my hardest to explain, but my words will always be found lacking. It's not the lack of rounds cracking over my head, it's not the awkward silence when I lay in bed at night or the absence of walking down the street without my rifle that I notice the most...it's being able to watch others go through their day without a care in the world. They have no worries about running over an improvised explosive device planted for coalition forces...they have no concern about returning to their home to find it commandeered by insurgents and their families taken hostage. They do not fear being displaced - yet again- as a result of an imminate offensive operation in their neighborhood to rid it of insurgents.
In all fairness, not having to worry about these things is part of the benefit of living in America. But understand one thing...our lifestyles of relative bliss came at a price. And America does not have a monopoly on her citizens being willing to shed their blood to purchase these freedoms. The majority, that's right THE MAJORITY of Iraqis are now willing to stand and face these monsters and draw the line in the sand. It is my hope that we leave them with all the tools and training necessary to carry the torch and defend their homeland and are one day able to once again see their countrymen smile as they travel down their streets.