Thursday, May 31, 2007
Evan called this morning. He sounded more upbeat, but tired. He received the first shipment of books I sent him from Amazon, and was really happy about it. One of them was written by the founder of the Lonely Planet books and is about traveling to all of the countries known as the "axis of evil." (Iran, Albania, Libya, North Korea, etc). He was really excited about that one. Mail to Iraq doesn't take nearly as long as mail to Afghanistan did. It took at least two weeks, (sometimes three), for packages to reach Evan in Afghanistan, but now they take just one week, or even less. He should be getting the Summit coffee sent to him last Friday, very soon.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Evan got a quick call out to Bethany yesterday morning. No news, except that he's doing OK, and that his schedule will be extra full for the next two weeks, so don't expect to hear much from him. It's always good to get that kind of warning. Every day you wonder why there was no call, and after a week, it starts to get nerve-wracking. Everyone with a kid in college feels the same way, but when you hear on the news that 4 American soldiers were killed in Iraq yesterday, it especially ratchets up the fears.
I've met some families with loved ones in Iraq who refuse to read, listen or watch anything in the news. I understand completely.
The blue star banner above notes that someone in your immediate family is deployed in a war zone; you'll occasionally see them in front windows or on car bumbers; during WWII, nearly every house on every block had one. In the "war on terrorism," most people do not even know what it stands for.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
He asked me to run down to Summit, pick up some fresh ground and mail it to him—with a stack of filters (unbleached only, please). To get it out today, I walked to the
That was really nice, and the sentiment a really big deal for us. I told Beth, and she relayed the story back to Evan later, when he got one more call out. He said “Cool, I’ll get a picture of me and my bags of
Thursday, May 24, 2007
After a few months, when sections of the road opened, he watched what was once a barely navigable path now carry trucks full of wheelbarrows, food or people across the countryside. Working in the desert, while very rough, provided wide-open views and generally peaceful days.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
He sounded chipper and healthy.
The next day we got an email from Bethany saying he'd landed in Baghdad and would try to get in touch as soon as things settled down. He was busy with stuff like, finding a bunk, the chow hall, and those other details. It would probably be a while before he went out on missions because much of his unit was out on leave for a few days.
Through a translator they speak to local residents about problems or fears they may be experiencing, and ask how to help. In one of his first missions, a family invited his patrol into their home for a cup of tea. They sat on the floor and drank a glass of strong, sweet black tea. The family said they appreciated the patrols, because they feared violence in the street from outsiders, and the soldiers patrols definitely made them feel safer. They had nothing specific to report or any immediate problems. They just wanted to express gratitude and hospitality.
I thought this was interesting, because one picture we get here is that every Iraqi is afraid to speak with the troops because they might be seen as "collaborators." But this family actually invited a whole group of soldiers into their home. I'm sure it wasn't missed by the neighbors. Something to think about.
I spoke to Evan on the phone for over an hour this morning. It had been several days since our last real conversation. The last time he called I couldn't understand anything he said because of the poor connection so I talked the entire time. It was the definition of a one-sided conversation.
He told me a story that I have decided to post here so that all of you can know how good and wonderful he is.
Evan's squad was on a mission to check out a house somewhere in Iraq. I don't know where and wouldn't mention it, even if I did. Evan and a buddy went around to the back of the house to make sure no one escaped. Before the family within knew what was going on a little boy slipped out the back door, probably to use the outhouse. As soon as the child saw Evan he burst into tears. He was very small - probably no more than three years old. Evan scooped him up as he ran, held him and tried to comfort him. It didn't work; Evan was wearing all of his gear, including his night-vision goggles and probably looked a little like the Terminator, but he still tried to make the boy feel better. After the action, he set him back inside the house. I think this was very sweet and it was more than Evan had to do.
Evan downplayed this story. He said "I just didn't want anyone to get surprised by him and make a stupid mistake, AND I didn't want him to get scared and run away and have his family wonder where he was. It wasn't a big deal, but you can post it if you want."
A friend from
Above all, I feel the adventures in