Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Joyful Homecoming

I'm back home now, and I do miss the people of Iraq, but it's just as joyful being back home as I anticipated. Friends and family have reinforced the idea in my mind that it has been worth it to serve.

I still have and always will have a soft spot in my heart for the people of Iraq. I have seen that they have observed us and want to be like us. As Douglas commented to a recent post on this site: 'Freedom for the people of Iraq is just on the horizon.' They see it. They crave it. They will have it.

I'm back home now, so I'm no longer physically a part of the exciting struggle for Iraqi freedom. But I'm still on the sidelines, having changed from player to cheerleader. In that capacity, I expect to continue to furnish this web log with new insights and information far into the future.

We arrived in Salt Lake City at about 4 PM this past Saturday. My wife simply ignored the command that all people stay behind the yellow line on the tarmac and let the soldiers come to them, and I was grateful that she did. Of all the people who came to see me home, she obviously holds the largest place in my heart. It was a joyful reunion of best friends as we fell on each others shoulders and wept. I was grateful that so many of my extended family members could be on hand as well. It was back to old times as we went to an excellent Italian restaurant and ate and laughed to more than our hearts' content.

One of the more exciting events of the past few days was a ride on the city fire trucks last evening. My wife, along with the mother of a fellow soldier arranged for us, his wife, brothers, and sister, and my children to ride atop two trucks down main street and through various parts of town with sirens blazing. Reminisicent of when we went out in Iraq on convoy patrols, all of the vehicles traveling in every direction pulled to the side of the road to let us pass, most of them returning our waves of the hand.

The parade through town culminated in a reception at the city park, where, despite it having not been very well publicized, a great number of city residents turned out to greet us and thank us for our service. I think I was only brought to tears 4 or 5 times (that's pretty good for me) at seeing dear friends for the first time in many months. We thanked all those who had attended for being further proof that there is support for what we as individuals--and the United States military--had accomplished and are accomplishing in Iraq. We were able to give them a flavor of what missions we had performed while there. As well we answered their questions regarding what it was like to be away from the friendly confines of home. Service in the cause of liberty is a great character-building experience, not only for those who serve, but as well for those who support them and pray for them.

There seem to be too many things to get done in the short time that I have before I go back to my former job as a computer programmer. Actually, I think the problem is that this all does not yet seem real to me. It still lurks in the back of my mind that I am on Rest and Recuperation Leave and will have to return to Iraq in about two weeks. I'm trying to convince myself to relax--that there will be enough time to take care of everything in due course.

It was a herculean task that my wife, children, and I endured. At times it did not seem worth it. Looking back on it now, however, there is no question that it was. When the history books are modified to show a peaceful and prosperous Iraq, our little family will be able to take great satisfaction that we were part of it all--that I served, that my children were proud of me for doing so, and that my wife was gracious and loving enough to encourage it to be so.

Thank you as well to the majority of Americans that see beyond the petty politics and greedy griping to recognize Operation Iraqi Freedom for what it is: the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness for a greater number of God's children.

10 comments:

Frank Staheli said...

WW,

This is your last warning. I have never deleted someone else's comments from this site, but I am on the verge. Your tirade on this site began as at best semi-constructive and has devolved into wasteful demagoguery that is of no benefit to anyone including yourself. It is clutter that is informed by no experience. It is refuse in the mind of a madman unable to change his mind and incapable of entertaining an alternate point of view.

I have enjoyed hearing from others with different perspectives who have occasioned this site. I even thought for a moment that you might be such a voice. I have thus far been proven wrong. There is no substance to your rantings. For the benefit of all who enjoy this site, whether they agree with me or not, please stop. What may have been however fleetingly funny is no longer.

If you have something constructive to say, please say it. If not, please find a cesspool, dive in, and clean yourself up a bit. Let's see if you have a modicum of integrity--throw away the mask.

I say again, this is your last warning.

WW said...

Hey, by the way: You should change your blog name to "Bombing the People of Iran and Afghanistan." In case you haven't noticed, your incompetent Liar-in-Chief never finished the job in Afghanistan before he jumped over to Iraq, and now the Taliban has regrouped and it's a full-scale war.

I guess you'll have to postpone your dream of going to war with Iraq. Or maybe you already have passage booked back to the Planet Kolob from whence you came?

Matt said...

I'm going to respond to WW briefly. "Hey Frank, you coward. You hate your country that you claimed to have fought for." Frank was willing to put his life down for this country. Frank, I want to say from the bottom of my heart, congratulations on a job well done. Yours is one of two milblogs I read, and you were, until you arrived home, the only active serving member whose posts I read. I found them very insightful and will continue to read this blog. Thank you so much for what you did. I appreciate everything our soldiers do for us. Enjoy your time off. You've earned it!

Matt said...

No, he's not afraid of dissent. If you look at Elizabeth's comments, she is the polar opposite of Frank and yet he lets her comments stay. I think what he dislikes about your comments is your disrespect of the US military, such as when you said - A horrendous misuse of the U.S. military and - A waste of lives all around. Remebmer, WW, he put his life on the line so we could talk like this. Even if you don't agree with the war or don't agree with the President's decision, agree that Frank served his country honorably and deserves our gratitude for protecting us, even if you don't think he was.

Frank Staheli said...

WW,

You are the weakest link. Bye bye.

Kim said...

Welcome Home Frank!!
Thank you for your service and thank you for keeping yourself safe! I'm sorry if I started anything with that ww person on your site. Truely did not want to do that. Idiots like that just get my motor running. I do not suffer fools gladly.
Thrilled you are home with your family. God Bless!

Frank Staheli said...

Kim,

Don't worry about WW. It was actually very instructional. I know a few people who are knee-jerk reactionaries like this. I have allowed a couple of his comments to stand: one that was marginally logical and one that is very illustrative of his penchant for diatribe.

If he (I can't imagine a woman to be this vile and dogmatic, so WW must be male) posts something that is courteous rather than combative, and apologetic for his completely baseless charges of my cowardice, I will allow his comments to stand.

Thanks again, Kim, for your ongoing words of support and encouragement.

Frank

Elizabeth said...

Glad you made it home safely.

Will you be continuing with your other blogs?

Frank Staheli said...

Elizabeth,

My plan is to augment this blog about once per week.

I'll probably start spending quite a bit more time on my other two blogs than I have before, particularly the EconomicsPolitics one. I'm somewhat considering running for Utah state political office in about two years, and I think the EconomicsPolitics blog would help me solidify where I stand on the various issues.

But for now, I'm having way too much fun with my family. We've gone swimming, hiking, visiting extended family, buying a new car, to the gym or jogging up the canyon several times (with Kara), to my 25th-year high school class reunion, etc.

After the 4th of July weekend I think I'll get back into the old routine, so to speak.

Dana said...

Frank, would "WW" be "Word Warrior," a lady from Eugene, Oregon, with an IP address I can provide for you if you need it for confirmation?