Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11

I received this email from my brother, who is a 1st Lieutenant serving in Iraq. I share this with his permission.

"Well it is September 11th, and I have been deployed for 10 months. We have a flag in our compound here and we lowered it to half staff this morning. Over here we take each day one at a time, but days like today make what we are doing even more important.

I work with building the new Iraqi Army. We are trying to build an Iraqi military that can take the fight to insurgents, which they are doing more and more. We also are training them to treat the people right. This country was ruled by an iron fist for thirty years and it is difficult to get them to take personal responsibility or to take charge in the absence of orders. We are getting there slowly but surely.

In the spring I met a young Iraqi private, his name was Joseph Najim Abdullah. He was a bright kid, he said he was 18 but likely he was no more than 16, not much older than our Joe [our youngest brother]. He was one of our basic trainees, and when we did our testing he scored well. He scored high enough that he was going to be placed in the communications school. That was until violence flaired up in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City. Half of that basic training class was pulled from training 3 weeks into their 5 weeks of training, sent to an Iraqi division given a rifle and sent into the fight. In April Joseph was killed by a sniper in Sadr City. Joseph represents what is good about this country, young men not much different than us, standing up and volunteering to fight for what they believe in. Our mission is to train them and prepare them for the worst they might face. Sometimes we do it in spite of bad decisions from the Iraqi govenment, like the choice to take soldiers not even through basic training and throwing them into the worst neighborhood of Baghdad against a determined, experienced insurgent force.

I don't usually reflect, but today is a special day. I am sure for those back home it is easy to get wrapped up in the election coverage and who is right or wrong. For those of us over here it really doesn't matter who is President, it is about the people serving next to you."

As so many have said, regardless of what you think about the war, you must - you must - support the warrior. Please don't forget.

Photo by jbdjbdjbd

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