Friday, March 5, 2010

The wounded among us

Friday night in Los Angeles.

Having dinner by myself at Chili's.

The young man sitting next to me is wearing University of Texas garb.

We strike up a casual sports conversation as the Lakers get beat by Charlotte.

After some exposure, you can just tell when they have a military countenance.

I finally ask him if he was military, and he tells me he was Air Force. In Iraq.

During his last months there, they were assigned to humanitarian convoys.

Delivering school supplies.

On one of these trips, an IED or EFMP ripped thru one of their vehicles and the first female Air Force casualty in Iraq happened before his eyes.

He lost 10 in his group on the ground in Iraq.

These are Air Force people. Supposed to be flying above and beyond.

But they spent time on the ground. And driving convoys delivering humanitarian supplies, he saw ten of his friends die.

He explained that the bombs would be hidden in innocent looking cardboard boxes.

He explained that the bombs would be hidden inside roadkill animals.

To this day, he has difficulty driving here.

If a car pulls close to him, he freaks.

If an unusual object appears in the road, he freaks.

He is now out.

He is now working for a domestic company.

But that war will never be out of him.

We had a great talk. He understands that Iran is in the process of taking over Iraq.

He knows the Iraqi Police have been Iranians in many cases.

He knows that someday in the not too far distant future Iran will own Iraq and will then challenge Saudi Arabia.

And then the U.S. will have a choice to make.

He has a a wife and two young children.

They will never understand the hell this young man has seen.

Godspeed, Adrian.

Thank you for your service. And your sacrifice.

Know that America thanks you for serving in a confusing war that will be hard for any of us to comprehend for years to come.

And know that you are loved and supported by millions.

You are not alone.

None of us has the answers.

But together, we at least have a chance to ask the questions.

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