Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Sun Is Shining

Yesterday morning I went for a “fun” run. By this, I mean that I ran slower but went a longer distance, and ran outdoors around parts of Camp Liberty and Camp Victory. Running around a couple of the lakes over at Victory was really quite pleasant- the weather is just about perfect right now (upper 70s, dry, not too dusty, but not rainy season either)- and it’s interesting to see the sights. What we now call Camp Victory has a number of artificial lakes which have “lake” houses that were used by Saddam’s friends, Generals, etc. It’s also a place where you will run into Soldiers from a number of different nations. Just an all around pleasing jog for my Sunday run.

I should also note that things are looking more positive over here on the war front. The number of Soldiers killed in action has dropped recently, and there has been a dramatic decrease in the amount of sectarian violence in Baghdad. In addition, and this is VERY important, US and Iraqi forces are setting up the first JSS (Joint Security Station) in Sadr City. Many of the worst death squads and various militias (the Mahdi being the largest and most imfamous) have come from Sadr City, and we are finally tackling this issue.

Does this mean that all is rosy? No… but I feel positive. These are important steps, and people back home need to know about it. Getting the security situation settled will open up the door to getting business and industry going as well as so many other things.

One anecdote: there is a vendor at the bazaar here who makes small stained “glass” windows, with pictures of Iraq, Army unit symbols, personalized with your name, and your dates in Iraq and other things you want added. For a long time, he hasn’t been taking orders, because his shop was in a dangerous area and he didn’t fel safe traveling there. The other day, I went in to the bazaar, and asked if he was taking orders yet, and he said “Yes!” The wait is about two weeks for these. I didn’t order one that day, but I’m going to.

Finally, speaking of the bazaar: I have been buying little souvenirs here and there. There are certain things which are way overpriced, but other things- especially the unique gifts- are much less expensive. I bought a painting a couple of weeks ago from a local artist. It is really quite pretty, and includes Arabic script on a beautifully colored background. And the art is very inexpensive. These are the types of things I want to bring back: things that not only are truly unique to Iraq, but also directly support Iraqis. I personally think it’s part of my duty to spend some of my money in ways that will benefit people here. I can’t do much, but a few dollars here and there will help. I plan to buy some handmade bowls from this same vendor as well. If my wife doesn’t like the art, it will end up in my office! :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stained glass with customized IA units and what not...that's impressive not to mention very unique!

5:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home