Friday, May 27, 2005

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day everyone, I hope your weekend is sparkling! Just a thought as we come into this weekend where we remember the troops and the armed forces:
Yesterday I had a client come in, we haven't seen her in a few years. You see, she's stationed in Iraq, at Saddam's old palace and is part of the military that deals with the contractors coming into that country. Before you read further, keep your opinions on whether you think the war is just or not, because this weekend is not about that. It's about remembering the people who literally put their life on the line every day for their country.
She says the palace is like a resort hotel, there are swimming pools and all sorts of things there. The temperature when she came back for her leave was 109, and it can get as high as 150, so trust me, the soldiers make sure those pools are in working order. She said that she feels so for the rest of the soldiers who are not near there. There is no off time for them, because they want to be seen as the military and not as contractors, they are in uniform 24-7. It's like being at work all day, then ending your work day and not being able to get into comfy clothes. There are a lot of Iraqi nationals working there too, and many of them are given death threats daily because they are helping the Americans. It's even harder for the Iraqi women who work there, because they are constantly harassed and told they are not good Muslim women for what they do. They now have a separate entrance, not to segregate them but to keep them safe. Each day there the military see contractors, and Iraqis, all working for a common goal, to make Iraq self sufficient. It's an uphill battle everyday. The insurgents bombed the palace once, and a soldier who my client knows was killed in the bombing. She sees his face in her mind every day.
She told me about the private security that some of the contractors have, usually ex-military who keep them safe and able to work without getting killed. These private security people usually make 6 figures a year doing the same job our soldiers do for a hell of a lot less. She said that as beautiful as the palace is, her life is lived over there in those walls and compound all the time. No matter how beautiful your surroundings are, when you can't leave it tends to feel like a prison.
She told me stories that some of the Iraqi nationals told her,the ones who worked at the palace when Saddam was there. They were paid a stipend, enough to buy flour, milk, and bread. Most of them were supporting families and extended families. All this as Saddam made himself richer. He kept lions that were fed those who he was displeased with, to the point that some of them would not eat regular meat anymore. Her tour of duty is up in September, and I pray she comes home safe.
I give no opinion on whether I feel we were justified going over there. Not this weekend. This weekend I remember and pray for a strong beautiful woman who does her job because she feels that what she does is just. She is there to help, end of story. I remember all the other soldiers who are over there without their families during this holiday weekend. I pray for them also. I pray for their families, that none of them ever feel the pain of not having their loved ones come back. I pray for the Iraqi nationals, trying to make order out of chaos. I pray for the children, all of them, American and Iraqi. And when I have my barbecue on Monday, I will raise a glass and salute them.
Whatever god you pray to, whatever you believe in, send up a thought for our soldiers, and all the lives they touch. Next week you can go back to trying to figure out whether what we are doing over there is just or not. This weekend, just remember, and never forget.

• Posted By Crazy Single Mom @ 10:49 PM
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