Monday, January 31, 2005

Letter from U.S. Soldier in Iraq

My uncle sent this to me - his note below the -----
He got it from someone whose note is below the ++++++
I didn't originate any of this... Got it from a friend who got it from a friend !!! But it is worth reading !!!!
This was forwarded to me last night from a friend. It was sent by her nephew, who is currently serving in Iraq:

Hello Everyone,
Wanted to shoot out a quick update on today: The election went better than any of us here could have expected. There is feeling of elation here that we haven't felt in quite some time. We've been looking forward to this day for the year we've been here and now that's it's complete, and went well, it just feels like this thousand ton elephant jumped off the old shoulders. This will of course be spun in so many different ways back home but I was so proud of the Iraqi people today. They really stepped up and had the courage to take charge of their country...Here are just a few things that stood out for me:

-We had thousands of people walk from Abu Guraib (of prison fame) to a nearby town to vote... Because Abu G. was simply too dangerous to set up voting facilities...These people walked 20 kilometers (about 12 miles)...ONE WAY to voting stations..Many of them with no shoes.

-The Iraqi soldier who blocked a man with a suicide vest and kept him from entering a polling station only to be killed while saving countless lives.

-The Iraqi people dancing in the streets in celebration (no car traffic allowed today) was a carnival atmosphere here.

-The voters proudly holding up their inked finger (ink to prevent double voting) to show they had voted.

-We had some walk in suicide bombers in Baghdad (none actually made it inside the voting facilities thank God) but as they blew themselves up near voting was incredible to see the crowds run away only to see them reform several minutes later to continue voting as emergency crews were picking up bodies of the dead and treating the wounded around them.

I tell you what I thought about most today were those poor ignorant people back home who don't exercise their right to vote in the U.S.. We take so much for granted at home....and here in Iraq, these people being threatened with their very lives, were walking to the polling stations to exercise their most sacred democratic right. Can't wait to get home and hear the first person tell me that they don't have time to vote.

I think we all understand this is still a long road ahead but this was certainly a good move in the right direction...So a great day all around...Made even better because I got to watch the day unfold with my replacement from the 3rd Infantry Division. We have about a month left here before we move to Kuwait and unfort. The war will still be there in the morning....But today sure did feel GREAT!!

Miss You All! Dan