Well – its time to end this journey. If I had to wrap this all up in one word it would have to be Gratitude. How can I not look at my wife and kids, all I have here in the United States of America, and be able to enjoy it all without body armor, or automatic weapons, or T-Walls and not feel blessed every single day? What a great country we live in where you can live in peace, pursue your dreams and grow old with your loved ones. How great it is watching my kids grow up knowing that there are going to be great experiences in front of them. Gratitude that all this is true.
And as this journey ends it comes time for Reflection. It is always peaceful when one reflects. My time in Afghanistan seems like it happened a lifetime ago. Going back to May 1st, 2011 I can’t believe I actually went, came back and even got the t-shirt. Afghanistan was an experience. While in Afghanistan I meet some amazing individuals both in uniform and out of uniform. The Aghans that I worked with go to work everyday knowing that by working with the USA and NATO they put their families at risk. The Taliban is brutal – don’t let any one tell you otherwise. The Americans that I worked with all left family back in the states for one reason or another. Whether it was a noble cause or for the paycheck – being away from family is a price we all had to pay. But I never had the fear of my family being kidnapped and beheaded. The Afghans I worked with have this fear.
On a personal note I really need to thank Thomas and Wally for working with me everyday over there. I worked with a lot of great people and I need to mention them here. Both Thomas and Wally helped me everyday. Words fall short in trying express my thoughts and feelings for these two. Thank you is all I can muster.
Afghanistan if full of stress. There is a saying that stressful situations will develop character. I like to disagree with that statement – I believe it reveals character. I also believe that a stressful situations will reveal to you what is most important. What it revealed in me is simple; life is short, relationships matter most, we live in the greatest country and I couldn’t have done this without my family.
Safety was such a large concern. I tried to let my family know I was safe at all times. Yes there was danger – but being smart and alert counted for so much. After I left a VBIED (Vehicle Borne – Improvised Explosive Device.) hit the compound that I would have moved to if I stayed. The blast wave knocked one friend down. Guards were killed in the blast and all the bad guys died in the end with no civilians were killed. I read that in the news while home. Some guys on the team headed home right after that. Would I have stayed? Yes. But I am glad (and so is Amy) that I didn’t need to make that decision – I was already home when it happened. In some small way – maybe that is why I came home when I did. Who knows what his plan is. But we are all in it.
All right time to wrap this thing up;
I really need to thank Amy, Alexis and Brooke. Am I proud of them? Yes – They paid a price, just like millions of other family members do everyday, for me going over there. They were with me every step of the way in this journey. It pales in comparison with the price some families pay when one of our soldiers dies over there. Thank You!
And thank you for reading this. I hope you all enjoyed the journey as much as I have.