For the occasion, I wanted to share something with you that would be a little bit more appropriate for the 4th of July than just some more boring ol' pictures of Kris' vacation to Hawaii.
Dustin is my second cousin, son of my cousin Diana and her husband Kenny. Dustin is in Iraq, fighting in a war that is both controversial and important. We were able to visit with Dustin over Memorial Day, during Elizabeth's 17th birthday party, while he was home for a short leave.
But Dustin has returned to Iraq now and I hope to, if only in a small way, pay tribute to him and his compadres.
Dustin's father Kenny writes:
"Well, Dustin is headed back to Baghdad today. It was a great visit... 18 days and it seems very still around here. Despite storm delays and such, they took off around 2:30 PM today. It is hard to say when we will see him again. The army is cutting back on the tour lengths (but so far he has not been told it affects him.) Then we have an election coming up and the war will become a bargaining chip to the players. So the current plan is that we will see him again about this time next year - unless Diana and I can figure out how to get to Baghdad.
Dustin's point of view about the whole thing is that they (US forces) have enough resources and such in Iraq, but the Iraqis either squander it or horde it. The end result being that nothing useful is being done by the Iraqis themselves. This coming from a young man who is right wing and pro-war. He says it is not too dangerous there as once something starts (mortar, sniper, etc.) every resource available comes in to help - good to know.
One other thing that I noticed and was moved by was the response of civilians everywhere to the servicemen - WOW. Hand shakes and hugs along with thank you's. I have to compare it to 30 years ago and how the public treated the soldiers of the era. We seem to now know how to separate the difference of brave men and women doing their duty from policy makers and politicians."
With Diana (mom) and Kenny (dad)
Kudos, as well, to Nick Corral and Robert Young. Two other young men I'm aware of that either will be heading to Iraq or have returned...