One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

My Photo
Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Remembrances of The First Time Around

Ollie North's column a couple of days ago in Town Hall spoke about a couple of different topics: the efforts of Marines and other American soldiers on the behalf of the citizens in Iraq, and the efforts of American colleges around the country to ban military recruiters from their campuses.

What gets him kicked off, though, is this photo, which most everyone not currently living in an ice cave under the polar caps has likely seen by now.

The story is told in full by Michael Yon, who took the photo in question.

That photo reminded me of two other stories I had forgotten about. They are both my own, from my time in Operation Desert Storm.
Thankfully, no one dies in either one....and they both involve Iraqi children.

1)In one of the villages I visited in my role as a translator for a Red Cross team my unit was assisting with food distribution, I started chatting it up with a bunch of kids in the road. One of them, a bright and smiley little six-year-old, said he would trade me his stick for something of mine, and held up a smooth baton about a foot long and 3/4-inch wide. (I later learned that it was an Iraqi police baton.)

All I had on me that I could trade was a little plastic Northwest wing pin that I had gotten from a flight attendant on the flight across the Atlantic. His eyes practically bugged outta their sockets when I put it in his hand, and he got a grin so big the top half of his head almost fell off.

For the whole rest of the afternoon, that kid and his buddies zoomed up and down the dirt-pack road, laughing and shouting, taking turns holding the pin and pretending they were pilots. It was a sight for sore eyes.

2) A couple of weeks after that, I was at another site with the Red Cross team. Unfortunately, I had sprained my ankle earlier in the week, and so was relegated to guarding the unit commander's water supply in his Hummer. It had been a rough week, and quite a while since I had gotten any mail, and I was feeling pretty down.

Then a kid walked up to me---I'd guess he was about nine or ten---with a half-full water bottle in his hand, just kinda looked at me for a minute....and then put his water bottle in the footwell of my seat, said (in thickly accented but gramatically perfect English) "Here, you need this more than I do", gave me a warm smile, and walked off. I was too stunned to do anything but watch him walk away.
Man, I must've looked pretty pathetic.

While I was remembering these kids today, something else occurred to me:
Assuming they're still alive....those two Iraqi kids are grown men now.

I wonder what they've been up to since then...and if they remember me.