Thursday, March 03, 2005

My news from Baghdad

Marines taking the Baghdad Highway Bridge

My brother is in Baghdad now.

A Desert Storm Marine veteran, now a Texas police officer, David has been in Jordan since August 2004 training Iraqi cops.

Not long ago, he wrote a moving account of his experiences training the Iraqis, which I shared here in my blog.

We've known for some time that he would probably eventually end up in Iraq, but I kept hoping it wouldn't happen. However, I got this e-mail from him earlier this week:

"Hi family and friends. I arrived in Baghdad Iraq today, flying in this morning with seven friends. We were taken by a security team in an armored vehicle escort to a heavily fortified hotel in Baghdad. It is really different here, everyone's carrying full auto weapons and wearing armor. Ours hasnt been issued yet.

"The hotel I'm in has been the source of several mortar and small arms fire attacks and as such is pretty well fortified. Attacks on US forces have slowed in Baghdad since the elections.

"I will be here for a while as they process our teams paperwork, get our weapons issued, give us briefings on the area and our mission here etc. We will be given a list of open assignments in Iraq then allowed to list our preferences. Assignments will be made based upon the needs of the US government. and qualifications, with consideration given to our preferences.

"Telephone access is limited here so I will be staying in touch this way.

"Oh by the way, Im safe and sound and happy.
Love ya all..."

A former Marine buddy of my brother's had written this encouragement: "Rock on brother! Watch your six and may the front sight tip always be visible.... You are making history - helping millions crawl out from under the rock of oppression. As a fellow warrior, I'm jealous and proud at the same time. I think it's safe to say that, after the elections, the Iraqi people want you there, need you there, and are willing to make the same sacrifices to obtain the freedoms and liberties they deserve."

And David's 17-year-old daughter wrote this: "Hey Dad. In history class the other day Ms. Esler was talking to us about the Iraqi elections. She told us how their ballot was pages long with hundreds of possible candidates. She told us how they had to be searched four times before going in to vote. She told us the purple die on their fingers may have made them potential targets, and that many people had to walk for hours to get to a voting place, and wait in line for hours longer. Then she told us about how their voter turnout rate was higher than our in the last election. About how they were seen on television dancing in the streets, crying, and hugging each other. She said that maybe if we could all learn to appreciate democracy as hard as our troops are fighting for it this would be an even greater country to live in. It reminded me of you. I'm going to get registered to vote in about thirty days, the day I turn 18. It is pretty cool to think that you are one of the people who help make that possible for other girls like me, halfway across the world.
I love you,

My brother believes strongly in what he's doing in Iraq. He wrote this in an earlier e-mail: "I have had some time to bond with the Iraqi Police Forces and for the most part they are warm and brave hearted souls desiring peace, democracy, and security for thier country and thier families. The people of Iraq and the principles of freedom and democracy are worth the sacrifice Americans are making. I am proud to be a part of the mission."

Well, I'm proud of my brother for his commitment to this mission. But as a concerned and worried older sister, I will be spending some extra time in prayer for his safety and that God will keep His hand on him.

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