Just about every time I go outside the wire, I, along with many other soldiers, always have that one thought, "What if today's the day?" It's a common thought, but one we must constantly battle in the deep recesses of our mind. We never talk about it to each other and we seldom ever give it another thought while out on patrols. Our thoughts are more concentrated on doing the right thing and making sure that our fellow soldiers are just as alert as we are. When driving by a car parked on the side of the road, or even when driving through densely populated areas, there is always the potential for something to go awry. However, there is one thing that for some reason gives me the comfort of knowing that I am safe while out on the streets.
Seeing a child or group of kids on the side of the street waving at me as I pass by them always seems to calm my nerves. While I am still fully aware that at any moment a bomb could go off, or a sniper on top of a building could take out one of my gunners, when I see a child waving and smiling at me, it's as if God himself is speaking to me through them, telling me that everything is going to be fine.
After returning to Liberty each time, I seem to find myself sitting at my desk, thinking about those children. What will they grow up to be? Will their lives be any different than they are now? Can they recover from these hardships and turn this country around? My sincere hope is that this war and the many things that they have seen at such a young age will not deter them from reaching their full potential. Moreover, I pray that their lives will not be filled with the same conflict and suffering that their parents are currently undergoing.
As cheesy as this may sound, Whitney Houston was right, the children are the future, especially in this country. If and when these children grow up and become adults, regardless of how this country turns out, I hope they all remember the American soldier who was waving back at them.
Take care and please remember to pray for the children of Iraq.