Monday, August 14, 2006

These Vets are home or not

It was an interesting weekend. On Saturday my Legion Riders and I went to a VA Home in Spring City, PA to assist the activities directors in having a "pub night" for the residents. We arrived at the appointed time and I was struck with how quiet and peaceful the setting was. After some preparation we retrieved residents and wheeled them down to the area of the party where they could have chips, near beer etc...
I had my motorcycle vest which identified me as an Iraqi veteran and several residents commented how grateful they where that I served. I found this so strange that here were veterans of the second world war - talking with them I learned that they served as pilots, seamen, soldiers in some of the greatest battles of the century...exploits that were really to save the world.... and in their reduced state they thought enough to thank me...I was moved. They quietly lived their lives after WWII and made this country what it is today... Can we hope that OIF/ Desert Storm Vets will be equal to the task in the same measure?

On Sunday I attended the party of my former XO who is back for a few days from Iraq. He serves in the North in a very remote location. We talked and e-mailed when I was over in Iraq and I sensed that he really didn't get what conditions were like over there... They really do defy description in many respects. Well now he has 5 months in country under his belt...he is getting ready to head back and I am so anxious about his return. Don't know why... but I don't envy him the return and I told him that it would be a tough return. It struck me how the period over there changes people - not bad or good - just to be a little more retrospective and appreciative - watching life here for the precious two weeks that he is home... I wish him well and look forward to his return when we can really party and raise a glass to surviving Iraq.... good luck Mike

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Stan's Year in Iraq

While in Iraq - I had a good friend of my Son stationed near by - he worked in clearing IEDs. A dangerous job... a part of what I found a in my year in Iraq.

First Post

Being a little older member of this community, the Bloging concept is intriguing. Imagine posting your thoughts as a kind of therapy for the days toil.

I read many of the Blogs from soldiers going through the experience in Iraq and I'm reminded of the year I spent there. Days with a mixture of boredom, heat, terror, and occasionally pain. I can honestly say that there were few good days except those when we would get out and see lots of kids managing to do OK in that environment.

While I was there I had the opportunity to see much of the country in my position. I realized there was a basic beauty in the country, its people and land that the war was destroying. The Concrete walls, garbage and debris was covering what once must have been lovely. Against this backdrop we would drive to sites which often were shells of the former granduer where families had taken up refuge...former palaces, country homes, government facilities which now had cows, kids, goats, trash in residence. When we would arrive - we usually were greeted with suspicion by the older residence, but the kids would swarm out within minutes to see if we had any treats for them. They were always the highlight of the trip, reminding us of our own left at home. We couldn't imagine the similar circumstance in our own country....

I made a windows slide show set to music which represented that year in Iraq... I hope to link it here shortly...