Friday, March 20, 2009

Wow! What a day...

My friends K and G have been a big part of my life for over 10 years now.  They've always been there for me, and I hope I've been 1/2 as good a friend to them as they've been to me.  They are very special people, and are the parents to three great kids, E(8), D(4) and B(3).  I surely don't see them enough, but they are always on my mind.

Last year, G got called up from the reserves to serve a tour in Iraq for a year.  He left on March 19th, 2008 and was stationed in Baghdad in the green zone.  That doesn't mean he was completely safe, as shortly after he got there, and incident occurred and there were american casualties.  Although G wasn't hurt, he was one of the first responders, it was that close.  I have no doubt that he saw things that no people should ever see.  Not just then, but other times as well.

K, in the meantime, is juggling 3 kids, a home, and trying to find some ways of staying sane while not having her best friend and husband there.  Not to mention all the worry associated with having him in Iraq.  She certainly is one of the strongest women I know and I admire her greatly!

Finally this morning, after 366 days, he came home.  I was beyond honored to be able to go and be a part of this day.  

I cried watching the two younger kids run to him at the airport while yelling "daddy".  I was stunned at the amount of people who stopped what they were doing and watched the reunion, and even saw complete strangers tear up.  I was grateful for the S&R dog owner who took some pictures of the reunion with K's camera so she would have some still pictures.  (She's a picture freak, and doesn't go ANYWHERE without it!)  I was appreciative of all of the folks who came up to him and thanked him.  

We left there, and headed to E's school.  His teacher and school officials knew we were coming to surprise him, and all of them were excited!  We got there a little early, and had to hang out for a bit.  More folks came up to thank G and to welcome him home.

Right before E's lunchtime, we went down the hall to his room.  K had told him she had a surprise for him.  We brought G in, and E was certainly a happy little boy!  He gave his dad a huge hug, and then brought him in and told the whole class, "This is my DAD!".  He introduced him to EVERYONE!  E was certainly a proud son, and wanted to show his dad off to all his friends, and the whole school.  Even Nutmeg, the class Guinea Pig.  

We headed to a local restaurant for lunch, and even then, people came up and thanked him for his service, and were surprised to hear this was his first day home.  We pigged out, and G enjoyed a nice tall cold beer, a steak, and a shared gooey chocolate dessert!

At the end of the meal, our waiter told us it had all been taken care of.  Choked me up again!  G and his family definitely deserved it.

After lunch, they headed home to chill and relax!  

I cannot wait to spend some time with them, now that he's home safe and to stay!  

Please remember to thank these guys who go over there and serve, regardless of your opinions of the war.  These are family guys that are dads, sons, uncles and brothers.  They put their lives at risk every day for us.  We owe them a lot more than we give them!

Love you guys!!!
AMW

2 comments:

Kurt said...

G - Thank you so very much for your service to our country. I remember sitting up all night watching the "rush to Baghdad," my late wife and I being so full of pride for our soldiers. My new wife and I continue to be thankful to you all for completing the mission, bringing peace to Iraq, and making us all so proud.

K, thank you and your family as well. We all know our troops couldn't do it without the support and sacrifice of everybody back home. May God bless you all.

Kurt

G said...

Thanks Kurt, all we ever ask for is someone to say "thankyou". Simple words right? You would be surprised how many people do not use them and take their freedom for granted.

I was lucky enough to get out of the International Zone on a few occasions and see real life in Baghdad. The Iraqi people are tired of being afraid. They are going to live their lives despite the suicide bombers and IEDs. While out and about, I met a little boy who reminded me of my own D. So young and curious. He grew up in that horror. He is the reason why we are there. Not oil, or political reasons, but to ensure that little boy has the opportunity to grow up in an environment where he doesn't have to be afraid of every bump in the road or pile of sticks. Will we be successful? I do not know. We will have to wait until he is old enough to tell us.

Thanks again Kurt, and AMW, you are a truely special friend and I thnak God you are mine!

-G