Five years ago I was sitting in a tower at the ECP in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Behind an M249 Machine gun watching the vehicles enter and exit the ECP. Listening to the short wave radio, I bought from the Bazaar, I heard the news. The war has started. A few days and a lot of scud attacks later and it was our turn to cross into war. Into a different world, a different life, a life and world I never would have imagined. Those days all seem a blur today. I remember all the good and bad times. The times where the pucker factor was high and the times where we would laugh the nights away. The nights where I would be up all night on a patrol or pulling guard on some far off OP. And the days after my tour where I would read of another attack on military or civilian and feel as if maybe I have not done enough. That maybe my sacrifice was paltry compared to others. And although I had served here once I felt compelled to serve here once
Fast forward to today. I am sitting once again in Iraq. A little older, maybe wiser, and some days wondering just what I have gotten myself into. I am not here to judge anyone. I have a job here, I do it and do it the best and most honorable way I can. I conduct myself the way I feel all American troops should, with dignity and pride in our country and mission here. Treating the Iraqis with the respect and dignity I would expect if the situation where reversed. And this is the way I feel most Americans here feel. There is a lot of positives here, I see them every day. Yes there is a lot of bad too I see that as well. I won't argue whether the war is right or wrong. Time and history will be the judge of that. I do know I am here today because I volunteered for a second tour. Not because I had to, not out of necessity. No, I did it because I believe in my friends, brothers, sisters, and the Iraqis. And what kind of person would I be not to come back when I am able.
5 years ago we liberated/invaded Iraq. Today we are still here, most doing what we believe is the right thing . I do have hope for the future of Iraq and the U.S. No matter whether you are a person at home protesting the war, or sending care packages or a quiet prayer for the troops, or are over here serving, we are all doing what we feel is the right thing. And eventually this war will end, will it end the "right" way? That is for the future to decide. Until then we will keep doing what we do. And pray for a better day for Iraq and the U.S.