Operation New Dawn. That's what we're calling the goings on in Iraq these days because word on the street is that the major combat operations in Iraq have come to a close. Or that the last US combat brigade has withdrawn from Iraq. ...I don't make the news, I just read it.
I remember exactly what I was doing on March 20, 2003. I was glued to my television watching a war unfold before my eyes just as I had been in the days and weeks leading up to the whole Shock and Awe campaign. As I sit here today over 7 years later, my mind is flooded with all sorts of images. (Thank you Life magazine archives for the photog.)
Not really. I have just always really loved this picture. Instead, I think about news footage that showed that statue of Saddam toppling down, the faces of those first POWs, the pictures in the forwarded emails with Soldiers sleeping in those dug out dirt hole things (Oh my word at the technical speak I'm using today), the American flags lining the Drill Field at North Georgia with one representing each student out of classes for the semester because he or she is serving our country, and pictures of my friends and their children as they send their fearless leader (aka, husband and daddy) off to war or as they welcome him back home. Those are the kinds of images that I'm thinking about today.
I know I've discussed this before on more than a few occasions. But honestly, I don't think it's a topic that can be discussed enough. When I think about war generations, I still think about WWII and Vietnam. Not my generation. But it is my generation. The war has always been a little more personal to me given my North Georgia pride. It seems to me that when you know some of the people participating, it makes you appreciate everyone on the team that is doing the work a little bit more as well as the cause. Or maybe that's just me. I hope not though. When I work with students now who have delayed their own college education because they love their country enough to do so, I have utmost respect for them. I see young men who have traded some innocence along with the freedom of lazy afternoons and weekends as a college student for doses of reality that some of us will never know. And it's because of them that we don't know.
It's important for us to remember that it's still not over in Iraq. Progress? Yes. Completion? Not quite. It's important for us to remember the men and women in Afghanistan.
It's important for us to not only remember them but to appreciate them as well.
There are multiple ways to show your appreciation. A good-old fashioned "Thank You" is a start. This one is kind of fun too though.
[Edited to add: It's important for my OCD not to get the best of me because I have been trying for 10 minutes to get the spacing of the last half of this post to publish correctly!]