I have come to have a real respect for the people who live in the Middle East. All of the things we take for granted each day, they go without. Each day for these people is a struggle to survive. Water, grass and blue skies are a rare commodity over here. The sky is cloudless and feels so much bigger here. When you look up it feels like you are peering out of a glass snow globe, just replace the snow with sand.
I have told my wife on many occasions that she should step out on the back porch and breathe in the fresh air. She should look at the beautiful green grass or, when the time comes, the turning leaves. You see, the people over here are dealing with all the problems of establishing a country as well as the day-to-day challenge to survive in this environment. This is not an easy challenge.
Every day our unit helps in the effort to build bridges, roads and schools for these people. It is important for the people back home to realize what great strides this country has made based on the hard work of the U.S. Military. So many Iraqi families now have power, water and security because of the sacrifices of all those who have served. Too many times we Americans get caught up in the nightly news and forget the most important thing about the people of this region; they are human. They wake up every day wanting to work and provide for their family. They wake up every day wanting a better life for their kids. They wake up every day wanting a country they can be proud of. The one truth I have found on my adventure in the Middle East is this. They are not that much different than us.