As we are preparing for our departure from Iraq we all tend to look back and reflect on our time spent here. Weve spenta little over a year away from our familys and loved ones, thousands of miles away from our familar homes and daily lives. Weve experienced quite alot in our relitivly short time here. Weve watched the tides of massivly over populated city turn from extream violence and ruthlessness that i personally neverthought possible, to a relative calm or lul in violence. Buisnesses are flourishing, people have resumed their daily lives, children are attending school. All of which was not possible 1 year ago. I can only hope that our actions here have made a permenentimpact of the social structure of daily life. I can only hope that in some small way i have made a difference. Because then and only then can my actions and experiences become worth my time here. I think that i have...i hope. Ive heard many civilians inthis area say that if it were not for our efforts then they would be dead. I dont know if thats true, but in a city where almost allhope for normalicy has been lost you settle into "the norm". Where death and destruction, violence and barberism are accepted as a part of daily life here. And quite possibly the grasp on your own mortality becomes limited in an enviorment like that. I couldnt imagine living in a country like that much less raising a family. But things have turned around for the people of Sadr City. They still have to deal with alot and its far from a complete transformation but i believe its on its way to making that transformation.
Since the start of my deployment ive delt with quite a bit in my experiences with being in a combat zone. From firefights to distrubuting food the locals. If had to try to deal with the loss of great friends both here and back home. My views on life andsocial issues and different cultures has changed so much. The things i have experienced here will forever shape everything i know from here on out in my life. Knowing that this year has impacted my life so much is alot to take in. But i can use these experiences to shape my life to come.
As this comes to a hopefully very quiet and speedy return home, we all have to come to terms and realize what our experiences meanfor our lives. Ive gained a large group of brothers and weve shared these experiences together and will take these things all differently.But these things will forever shape our lives.
im pretty much rambling now but these are a few of the thoughts on my mind.i hope all of you are well and ill be seeing you soon