Sorry that I haven't posted for a while. I have had a very enjoyable but busy schedule here at home on R & R leave.
So many wonderful things have happened while I've been here. When we landed in the U.S. there was a very large greeting party waiting for us. It was gratifying to know that these people would take time out of their busy schedules to welcome us back home. On the airplane, we soldiers were allowed to board first and exit the plane first at our final destination; upon exiting nearly everyone in the plane gave us a continuous ovation.
I put together a computer slide presentation of the things that I have been involved with so far, thinking that perhaps my family might be interested in seeing pictures of Iraq. I had no idea how interested so many people would be about my presentation. The most common comment from adults who have spoken with me and seen the slide show is something like "I had no idea things were so upbeat in Iraq. I knew the news media is very negative, but I had no idea just how negative they are. It's so interesting to meet someone who has actually been there."
I went back to my work for an afternoon to see how things were going since I left, and I suggested that I could show my slide show. About 50 people showed up, to my exciting surprise. Several friends came over the other night to see the pictures, and I hope to have one more chance before I go back to Iraq to invite some more to our home. I went to my daughter's fifth grade class yesterday, and found that all the 5th grade classes came to watch--about 70 kids. The teachers had to end the presentation after an hour and a half, although the kids had several more questions that they still wanted to ask. I'm making a similar presentation to my son's 3rd grade class today and to the junior high on Monday. Tomorrow I will go back to my elementary school of 35 years ago and talk to all the kids there. And then that night, I will present to my side of the family and a whole bunch of their friends. A snow storm postponed our visit to my wife's side of the family last weekend, but nearly everyone came the next night to see the presentation when we were finally able to arrive.
We soldiers are grateful for the opportunity to serve, to make friends with the people of Iraq, and to help stabilize their country as they transition to a democratic republic. But we are equally grateful for the support of so many of you back home for what we are trying to accomplish. One of the best reasons for coming home on leave is to see just how excellent and widespread is that support. And it has been a wonderful opportunity to share with you what is really taking place in Iraq, something that very seldom the American news media seems willing to share.