The Proudest Days
The Commissar asked blogger who inspired them to be blogger - their blogparent. I cannot recall which blogger specifically inspired me to blog. But I know what inspired me to blog. The War in Iraq. My first two posts were about Iraq. I came back from the war with mixed emotion about the war - both positive and negative. I first heard about weblog on "News Hour" which several bloggers were interviewed after the Eason Jordan scandal. The only person I remmembered and recognized was Andrew Sullivan.
I thought then that it would be a perfect medium to express my trapped emotion about Iraq. So I googled and studied as much as I could about blogging. So State of Flux, like the new Iraq, came into being. And much like Iraq, I had no idea where I was going or why. But now I am glad I did. It allows me to put my experience into perspective - to meditate about it deeply and rationally instead of emotionally. But emotion remains.
Today emotion is reawaken with the reminder that 2,000 US soldiers died in Iraq. The story brought me back to my first memorial service in Iraq. I did not know the soldier nor meet him. But his convoy was behind my convoy when he was killed by an IED. That was on the first day we entered Iraq from Kuwait. That was when I came face to face with my own mortality. That was my first but not last, more memorial services were conducted during our deployment. It was bitter, but in my heart of heart, I know that I was there for a good cause. But I also know that victory is uncertain. It is still pointless to mark the 1,000 or the 2,000 or the 3,000. Every fallen soldier is a great loss to his/her family, the community, and the country. The media by paying special attention to this day when the number reached 2,000 miss the point. This war is not about the deads but the livings - counts the living not the deads. Count the number Iraqi voters in the next coming election and many elections to come. Count the children who would have died in the cripping sanction.
My experience had much bitter. I wrote about it here. It even titles: "They Year of Discontent." It was a bitter and difficult year - many days I was in despair. But we did great thing - against great odds. And we did it not knowing what the outcome would be, not knowing if we would be appreciated for our sacrifice, not knowing if our political leaders have the conviction and wisdom to lead us to victory. We did it on faith - faith in our own nobility and hopefully the nobility of the Iraqis. I did not realize the fruit of my labor until January 30th, 2005 when Iraqi flocked to the poll to elect the first representative government.
Today, it is confirmed that the Iraqi constitution has passed. I cannot help but think that those days in Iraq were the proudest days of my life. Days that I can retell my children and grandchildren with pride. I have served with the most noble breed of men and women - some are counted among the 2,000 deads. I will remember fondly the numerous convoys we were on together - on an IED ladden road between Mandali and Balad Ruz. The rides were terrified - but the companies were terrific. I will remember fondly the meals we ate together. It was the worst tasting food I ever had; but I could not have it with better companions.
Let them count the deads, I will count them too. But I will remember them with pride, not with shame. My proudest days was short live, their are eternal.