Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The highlight of my day…

I’ll get to that a little bit later. Today was a long day. We woke up really early, like at 0300 hours. It sucked because I should’ve went to sleep earlier than I did. I ended up with like 5 hours of sleep. It’s a good thing those Red Bulls kicked in this morning.
We went to the IZ today. That stands for International Zone. It used to be called the Green Zone. It was exciting because that’s mainly like downtown Baghdad. It’s where Saddam had his Baathist Party headquarters were located. I saw a few buildings that wear bombed out during the first phase of OIF. That was pretty cool. It was hard getting a picture of some of the buildings though because photography was not allowed in some of the areas. There were lots of monuments around the city that were built to show off Saddam’s military power.

Well, as far as the highlight of my day, it wasn’t going to the IZ but talking with an IP there. IP is an abbreviation for Iraqi Police. We stopped at Saddam’s old Parade Field where he used to parade his troops in a show of force. It’s a really amazing site. There are these hands that extend from the ground with sabers crossed up above. They’re on both sides of the field with Saddam’s grandstand in the center. There are also stadium lights extended on poles all around the place. Well, we did a little sight seeing and thought we’d check it out.

At the base of one of those hands was a vendor that was selling all sorts of Iraqi souvenirs. Joes sure do love their souvenirs. Well anyways, some of the guys and me were checking out what they had to sell. An IP asked us if we wanted to go up into the hand of the statue to check it out. I would’ve done it but I figured that he’d want a tip and I was low on cash at the time. PFC Holzer wanted to check it out so I told him to go ahead and I’d wait at the bottom and take his picture.

Well, while I was waiting for him to get up there the IP and me started to have a little conversation. I guess you could say that I initiated it. I told him that I was from Arizona and it was a desert kind of like this one. I’m not sure if he knew where Arizona was from the expression on his face and I wasn’t sure if he understood me. I then told him that he spoke pretty good English. At least I thought he did. It wasn’t broken and he knew a few words. He didn’t agree with me but I insisted that he did. He asked me if I wanted to buy something from the vendor and I told him that I didn’t have any cash. I would’ve liked to but I didn’t bring any money with me. Sorry but no thanks I said with a smile. I explained to him that next time I’d bring money so I could get something.

Well, we waited as Holzer was being escorted by another IP up the statue. I walked off a bit to what seemed to be a little station. It was just a plastic round table with a few chairs outside of a checkpoint. He told me to have a seat. I told him no thanks. He told me again to have a seat and I thought it might be rude if I didn’t take up his offer. I was hoping that he wouldn’t offer me food because it would be rude to refuse that too. So I sat down and had a seat. “My name is Ali. What is your name?” he said. “Pete, Peter” I said. I go by Pete but I always figured that Peter was a more common and biblical name and he might know it. “Nice to meet you Peter” he said with a big smile and a friendly gesture. He was friendly, very friendly and for some reason I saw him as a friend. I shook his hand all the while thinking that I should’ve taken off my glove. How rude of me. “It’s nice to meet you too.” I sincerely said with a smile on my face and goodwill in my heart. I saw him as a friend too even thought I’ve never met the guy. I think we both had a common goal. I know how dangerous it is to be an IP; they risk their lives everyday. They’re constantly targets for insurgents. I wanted to tell him that I thought he was doing something good for his country and he should be proud. With the hope and promise that someday maybe our two countries would be united with a common goal. That maybe someday, my children and my children’s children will live in a better world. Sure we risk our lives but I think it’s for the greater good. It’s for the hope and promise of a world free of tyranny, oppression, and terrorism. It’s so maybe someday, people will look back and hopefully remember the sacrifices of those who gave their life for freedom.

The highlight of my day was meeting someone that wanted to be my friend.

3 Comments:

Blogger Christina said...

Very nice story....:)

12/13/2005 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I THINK THAT WAS A NICE STORY TOO.

12/14/2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger Desultory Girl said...

Awesome!

12/21/2005 9:25 PM  

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