Carlos Sr., celebrated his 21st birthday a few days ago. He celebrated that birthday in war torn Iraq. As someone that lived overseas for several years I understand the trials and tribulations of living in a foreign land, even when the warm blanket of Uncle Sam is there with you. I can even understand living in a nation on the brink of devestating war, Korea always seemed one hour from the edge all the time. I can't though understanding being in a hot zone, taking enemy fire, moving from one location to the next never knowing where the next insurgent might take a pot shot at your squad. I also can't imagine the imense heat of Iraq in Summer.
So while I have always taken an interest in where our troops are serving, my interest has turned personal, very personal.
Currently our nation and the world at large is divided about Iraq and the ongoing war, but I believe that most wish only the best for our men and women in uniform and pray for their quick and safe return to their waiting families. Carlos' unit is serving an 18 month tour in Iraq. We may not see him again until sometime in 2008. 18 months is a huge sacrifice for both Carlos and his family. I can't imagine not seeing Tracy or Courtney for 18 months. However the sacrifice is not an empty one. I firmly believe our cause is just, the mission imporant and the call to serve as patriotic one. One that is being served by volunteers. Men and women like Carlos who have chosen the military as a way of life. The outcome of this war, as with all wars, is uncertain; but I know that Carlos will serve his country and his family with distinction. And while many will speak of our soldiers making us proud, I can say that Carlos should have no fear in that regard for he has already made all of us proud.