I remember on one of my last missions seeing a sign the sign read "Farewell Baghdad". I had seen this sign on many other occasions on this route. And that night this sign had held a little more significance for me. I knew soon we would be saying our own farewells to Baghdad. This sign as well as the knowledge of going home made me smile and for at that instant everything that went on in the past year was put into perspective. The long nights, the arguments, the laughs, and the friendships that would soon change. It all struck me in one bittersweet moment, that soon once again my life would change.
We all take something different from events we are involved in, whether it is something as horrible and huge as war or something as small as watching our favorite movie. For me my time in Iraq was not some horrible thing I wish to erase from my memory. It was a time I made some very good friends as well as spent a lot of time learning about myself. Times where tough, but not always bad. So many people look at being deployed as a bad thing when in truth it is like everything in life. It is what you make it, you can make it suck or you can take it head on and do your best to enjoy the opportunity presented to you at that moment. I did the latter, and can honestly say I am a better person because of it. As I have said so many times before I am the lucky one I had a chance to experience something so many either can't or won't experience. I saw so much, experienced so much good and yes some bad. And now that I am home some of the big complaints I had seem so small now.I am not only glad I decided to go I am proud of myself and the unit I served in. And I am thankful to have been with the guys I had in my platoon.
I have been home for a little bit over a month now and find myself missing my time in Iraq. I miss the quiet times alone with my iPod before a mission. I miss the missions and seeing Baghdad, the freedom of traveling from FOB to FOB. I miss the friendship and brotherhood I shared with some of the coolest guys I will ever know. But mostly, I miss the feeling of being part of something bigger than me. I miss the feeling of having a purpose, of doing something I believed in my heart to be good. It is funny the whole time I was there all I could do was think about getting home. Now that I am back home I think more about Iraq than I would have ever imagined, and more often than not it is with a smile. Farewell Baghdad thank you for the memories and may you see better days in the future.