In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Fourth of July

There in a farm field, under the beautiful night sky, I experienced one of those moments you hope will flash before your eyes as the final breath is released from the lungs. It was in the small town of Mattoon, Ill., and the day was July 4, our precious Independence Day. I was with the boys from NCO Alley, their wives and a beautiful girl whom I now call my girl.

We sat in lawn chairs on a roadside near an American red farm house. For miles, a sea of lush green is all we could see. Then night fell and the bright stars glowed on us.

The three men were all scared of what came when the night sky arrived. Since we’ve been home, fireworks have not been our friend. The bursts remind of us of mortars falling nearby and bottle rockets sound exactly like a 107 mm rocket flying overhead. But we had to be there, to see our first Fourth of July celebration since our return home. We guzzled enough beer to numb our initial jump or twitch, and most importantly, we all had our significant other there to rub our heads, to calm us. Then, the fireworks began. They lasted for 45 minutes, and with each blast rather than feeling scared, I felt joy. With each colorful display, I thought of how much I love my country. I thought of the girl sitting beside me, and my feelings for her. But most of all, I thought of my friends who died for the green crops, the little kids and the farm houses that make up America.

And for the first time, a tear or a sad feeling didn’t overcome me when I thought of T & Mitts. Rather a smile. It’s as if they were looking down from heaven, watching the country they died for and patting me on the back.

When the fireworks were over, I saw a cute little girl with her family. She held Old Glory close to her face. The image stopped me for a moment. And as I stood there, I hoped the feeling would never end. I took a mental picture of the fireworks, the flag and little girl, and the joy shared between friends. This Fourth of July had new meaning.

27 Comments:

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post, but pretty sappy. looks like you're becoming a little sissy. that's ok. it takes a man to be girly, yet still manly.
-10219

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous kbug said...

Casanova, it seems to me that you've turned a very important corner in your readjustment to civilian life, it does my heart good to see that. Sounds like it was a perfect night, and not one that you'll ever forget.

Do you remember what I told you last week? I said, "you're falling." You and your big bad self denied it....hmmmmm....deny it all you want, but I do believe you're off the market......:)

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger Ramy said...

Yay! I am soooo happy for you Smink!

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Mom said...

I agree with kbug. A very important corner in your readjustment to civilian life. It is beautiful. I am pleased to see "your girl" sappy....probably but it is also a big step.
Congrats and enjoy.

 
At 3:35 AM, Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

So heartwarming and sweet...;-).

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

WELL WELL,, I too agree with the turning a corner. AND a "my girl" too boot! Way to go Smink! OK so fess up , did ya loose the Brute?
I am sssooo happy for ya, keep going forward!

 
At 8:35 AM, Anonymous - Supe said...

That was beautiful and very moving. I hope you don't mind that I linked you to my LiveJournal. It's a friend's Only journal, so it isn't like I'm real exposure helpful or anything. I do, however, have quite a few friends who are either Soldiers or veterans. I like to give them some positive things to read, especially the deployed ones.

I have linked to you a few times in the past. You are an excellent writer. Thank-you for your service in the military and on paper.

- Supe/ a.k.a. The SGMsHousehold6

 
At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Kim said...

Had to have given up the brut...

Wish you would have had your camera with you to capture that moment for the rest of us! ;) But thanks for sharing.

 
At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Sammy said...

I thought of you guys as I was watching the fireworks here. My woman felt bad because she felt her injuries were screwing up my plans to be with my NCO Alley buddies. I told her you guys would understand that I needed to be with her and help take care of her.

I also thought about our Fourth Of July last year in Mosul, with the two foot deep pool in front of IMN.

The fireworks were ok, but where we were sitting(on the edge of a potato field), the booms from the fireworks would make this strange little winding echo off to my left. You know--kinda like an incoming RPG or 107 does as it barrels in.

And anonymous, if finding the right woman to be with, to laugh with, to love with makes a man a sissy, well I guess I'm a sissy, too. But I'm a happy one. Because I've found my woman.

That must make you one lonely, miserable, ornery cuss, I reckon.

Out here.

SSG J
a/k/a Sea Biscuit 6

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smink,

Wanted to let ya know I just watched "Desert Sun" and enjoyed it,hope the proceeds are helping the families of the fallen as well.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger Chris said...

You deserve that new meaning Sminky. Beautiful story. Excellent writing. Now get busy with your book :)

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger remoteman said...

Smink, so glad to hear the happiness come through. All you guys deserve it so much. I had one of the best 4th's ever. My younger daughter was running all around just having the time of her less than 2 year old life. Watching her was so fun. But I kept thinking of all our fighting men and women who made the celebration possible. I just couldn't get them out of my head.

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger Household6 said...

I don't know you well enough to tease you about "your girl" but good for you and apparently 'sappy' looks good on you. I am glad that you did not have the angst that you thought you might over the fireworks.

HH6
AKA Miss Stella

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Rhodent said...

I am SO glad that you had a wonderful July 4th... may all of your 4ths be as great!

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger Jack Naka said...

Keep it up. I enjoy your nice blog. check out my fashion career site. It pretty much covers fashion career related stuff.

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger sillygalz said...

I skim a lot of blogs, and so far yours is in the Top 3 of my list of favorites. I'm going to dive in and try my hand at it, so wish me luck.

It'll be in a totally different area than yours (mine is about natural penis enlargement) I know, it sounds strange, but it's like anything, once you learn more about it, it's pretty cool. It's mostly about natural penis enlargement related articles and subjects.

 
At 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

 
At 8:12 PM, Blogger Enlargement said...

Alot of interesting comments on this blog, I was searching for some doctor related info and some how came across this site. I found it pretty cool, so I bookmarked. I'll really liked the second post on the front page, that got my attention.

My site is in a bit different area, but just as useful. I have a enlargement free penis pill related site focusing on enlargement free penis pill and mens health related topics.

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger Enlargement said...

Alot of interesting comments on this blog, I was searching for some doctor related info and some how came across this site. I found it pretty cool, so I bookmarked. I'll really liked the second post on the front page, that got my attention.

My site is in a bit different area, but just as useful. I have a enlargement free penis pill related site focusing on enlargement free penis pill and mens health related topics.

 
At 11:14 PM, Blogger Bloggy said...

I really liked your page and it is related to gold womens dress watch, until next time!

 
At 11:52 PM, Blogger Enlargement said...

I have a average penis length by height site. It pretty much covers average penis length by height related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger websoftware said...

Hi: Just came across your blog. Intersting post and good looking site. I'm definitely going to visit again! I recently set up a new website just about **San Diego plastic surgery** There are a lot of interesting plastic surgery/cosmetic articles. So, if you have an interest in San Diego cosmetic surgery please stop by and let us know how we can improve the site.

Thanks
Judi

 
At 4:45 AM, Blogger Bill Adams said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

 
At 6:43 AM, Blogger haidi said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a **Make Big Money**blog. It pretty much covers Make Big Money articles related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Plasma Television Center said...

Hi Thanks for your interesting blog. I also have a blog/site, covering Plasma Television related stuff. Feel free to visit my Plasma Television site.

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Acubens said...

Fun stuff. What happened to the previous post?

Rich
enlarge penis

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger . said...

.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home