Tuesday, March 22, 2005

An Excerpt from My Journal.....Part 2

Earlier that day we had to stop because of a truck breakdown. We were in another town which had similar amounts of traffic. We all had to exit the vehicles to pull security around the convoy to prevent suicide bombers, or anyone throwing bombs, into our area. I stood there fully armed and fully geared. My face covered by my gator neck and my goggles, my machine gun in hand fully loaded and ready to use. Some people crossed by on foot, mostly those that lived in houses along our convoy. Then there was a group of women approaching; adults dressed in black, and a little girl dressed in a beautiful red dress. She must have been only 3 years old or so. Understand that it had just rained for days so the streets were covered in slick mud and inches of standing water. Everyone had mud on them, at least their feet. But these women and the little girl were spotless. I had just been tense about some vehicles near me at the end of the convoy getting restless when I saw them. There I stood, a 6 foot 3 inch 215 pound soldier trained and ready to kill to defend myself and my fellow soldiers, looking at this little girl approaching. She walked so daintily. Her eyes met mine at one point and I could tell she didn’t know what to think. I would have been scared if I was her, but she just kept looking at me as she walked. I couldn’t help but soften and I found myself smiling at her as she walked by, her eyes alternating between me and the mud on the ground. As she passed I happened to look up to see that the two women were clearly her young mother and her grandmother. Surprisingly, her mother looked at me then looked at her daughter, then back at me. I expected a look of disdain but instead she smiled warmly at me, too. Grandmother was not so warm as she gave mother a scornful look. As they walked farther on she looked back a second time to smile at me. While this was happening, the crowd at the end became more vocal and restless. I dropped the bipod on my weapon in preparation for a firefight. The crowd calmed after our increased stance and we were able to continue on after a few more minutes. We mounted our vehicles and drove on while the images of the girl and her mother continued in my mind. That was the first I realized how confusing war can be.


Blogger Beatrice Petty said...

Nice story... and one that isn't told often enough...

I'm sorry you have to be over there.



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