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Quarter moon and contrail; Near dawn somewhere over Iraq a military aircraft returns from a mission somewhere else in Iraq leaving a contrail underlining the moon waning through the final days of Ramadan.
Type of aircraft? Don't know. Returning from Fallujah? Perhaps. Death at the other end of that vapor trail?
Blessed are the peace makers.
Last weekend I had my first day off since I've been in country. Celebrated with a relaxing long run, a few laps around the camp. Light drizzle was falling at the start, but halfway through the rain stopped and a cool breeze kicked in. Perfect running weather. Lately all my running has been done on a treadmill, so this was my first outdoor run in weeks. I know exactly which part of my quads let the treadmill work for them, because they protested this run. They were wasting their time, I've run marathons before, and pain isn't going to stop me. so I went hard enough and fast enough for long enough to induce an endorphin rush, a runner's high. Puts a quick stop to that pain crap.
Someone described this deployment to me in this way early on: "Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint." I didn't ask them if they'd ever run one. Late in a marathon several of your leg muscles will likely fail. Did you know you can use hip and abdominal muscles to compensate for the loss? I would imagine more than a few troops are doing that now, as a result of this marathon.
Anyway, the bottom line is eventually some of the muscles give out, reach their limit, can't make it, and the rest get to work double time, double effort. I wish the quitters wouldn't protest though, it just seems wrong, don't you think? "We're going further only if the rest of you do all the work, and by the way, please stop."
Just seems wrong.
See this run? This is the route of my typical 5-miler in Germany, a land that 60 years ago was nearly destroyed. The run I was on this past weekend wasn't as scenic, but it had its moments, and like I said, the weather was fine. This is a land of every day beauty, and if you keep your eyes open and your head up you'll turn a corner and see things like this.
That's kind of rewarding, kind of motivating. But you know why I won't stop going? Here's a teen age girl in Iraq and here's another who's father is here. Go read them. Don't read on until you've done it.
I don't like a lot of things about the world they're growing up in, so I'm doing my bit to change it. I'm not talking about this writing mind you - though I suppose that's a little part of it - I'm talking about what I'm doing.
When did I stop talking about running?
Blessed are the Peace Makers.
Not the peace lovers, we all love peace. The peace makers.
The difference? One group makes history while the other makes noise.
Speaking of the peace lovers, where are they? The coalition is involved in the heaviest fighting of the year and no one is in the streets protesting?
Must be the wrong Tuesday in November.
Some months ago when the peaceful people of Fallujah hung the mangled corpses of US contractors from a bridge in that town the American media did a brief bit of soul searching and decided to show the pictures of that atrocity in all their gory detail, in hopes of generating a massive outpouring of anti-war sentiment from the American people, of instilling a desire for regime change in the good ol' USA. They of course underestimated the American spirit, that drive that leads some among us to run marathons and others to cheer. Here's a typical quote from the day:
But the real effect of the images on Americans could be felt just months from now.See you at the finish line.
"These are the kinds of pictures that will linger," said John Schulz, dean of Boston University's College of Communications and a former faculty member at the National War College.
"They'll be there in November when people go to vote."
"They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint." Isaiah 40 v 28-31
Thanks for running the good race, Greyhawk. Keep the faith.Posted by EagleSpeak at November 11, 2004 04:17 PM
Greetings from San Clemente, CA!
This is a great site, a regular stop for me these days.
You are a talented writer, and the Mudville Gazette will no doubt be remembered as one of the best examples of the "new medium" chronicles.
Optimism shall prevail. Pessimism will hit the wall by mile 13.
Thank you for your service.
Stay Strong. Stay Safe!
My wife's a teacher, and she got her kids involved with something called Letters To The Front. It's a contest where people write 100-200 word letters to service members; after the judging, all the letters will be delivered to U.S. military personnel. I wrote one, but I'm gonna miss the deadline. So I'll post it here. Blessed are the peacemakers, Greyhawk.
Dear Service Member,
I just want to say thanks for keeping my little boy safe. He’s just turned one year old, and his world is getting bigger and bigger every day. He doesn’t yet know the word “enemy”, nor does he know the words “war”, “pain”, “sacrifice”, or “death.”
But just because he doesn’t yet know these words does not mean they are not real. Indeed, they are real; my little boy already has enemies who seek to inflict pain and death upon him. They declared war on him and all such innocents like him.
Yet he is protected by people he does not know and may never meet—like you. Right now you are sacrificing for him, putting yourself on the line and facing hardships and dangers so he doesn’t have to.
I don’t know who you are, but when it comes time to teach my son the meaning of the words “sacrifice”, “honor”, “courage”, and “hero”, I will be telling him about you.
Thank you for your protection and service and the meaning you pour into the words that will protect my little boy.
Keep running the good race. Thanks for your blog and pictures, and above all, your service.
Funny thing about the quote from Schulz at BU, though. I knew him. He flew F-4s in Vietnam. I remember him as a good, pro-military professor (how rare!). I can't speak for him, of course, but I think the paper just might have edited his quote to suit the story ...Posted by M in Boston at November 11, 2004 10:29 PM
Awesome pictures!Posted by Max Power at November 12, 2004 08:28 PM
First - I forgot to post a Thank You for your service on Veteran's Day, so a belated Huge Thank You for your service, and the incredible sacrifice you and your family are making to build a better future.
Your site is on my reading list, and I always enjoy what you write, and the thought-provoking images as well.
There was a bizarre feeling that gory images from the atrocity you cited, as well as videos of beheading, etc., will somehow convince the average US citizen to vote instantly against President Bush. I never understood this, as these images (and yes, I forced myself to watch one of the videos) will turn me from the course we have set ourselves to. The opposite is true for me - these are reminders of the savage nature of the enemy, and they harden my resolve to exterminate the terrorists wherever we can find them.
Keep up the Good Race, and we'll be here to welcome you home!
I think a lot of those peace lovers are busy sorting through their hurt egos in dark places like the Democratic Underground.
I will add you and your men to my daily prayers.
Godspeed and God bless!Posted by a soldier's dad at November 12, 2004 09:52 PM
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