Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What to say from Shindand, last post from here.

Okay, I have been the 3rd oldest on this deployment in my area for quite a while, like all deployment, so it amazes me when I realize that Doonesbury has been doing his thing for 35 years, weird weird weird. But he does it well, it only took me a year to actually check out the Sandbox so I thought I would point it out to you all. Read the message from the nurse in the states, that ought to put things in perspective, it did for me.
This is the day that I am packing all my stuff. So the final picture of this place. I have worked with people from almost all over the United States during my time here. Vermont, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, and of course a little place we like to call Oregon.

Both the flags in this picture arrived at my location because Charlie and Joyce sent them, or had them sent. I am bringing the Oregon Flag back, as I am the last Oregonian here. The US Flag stays, because it looks great where it is. (How is that for flag waving???)

While it has been trying being separated from home for so long, I am reminded from time to time, that this is not the worst tour that happened this year. Some of they soldiers I deployed with a year ago have had significantly more hardship and danger. Some are not returning home with us. In Iraq US casualties are far more common than they are here. It always hits us when someone who we know is wounded or killed in action here. Fortunately that is not the norm in my area. In Iraq, we have men and women who face a certainty that someone they know will be injured, or killed, and they also know that the next day, they will have a mission that takes them into the same environment.

The people who have it the hardest however, from a daily stress perspective, are our families back home, who wonder if we are safe, when ever they think about us. I am really happy that that stress level will be able to drop soon.


Pete Petersen said...

Hi Keith - Pleased to know the journey back has begun. I frequently marvel at the level-headed manner which you exhibit that counters the extreme viewpoint of the politicians upon whose orders you were dispatched. Its a marvel that you were there giving what is the best of America amidst directives from leaders who, I believe now and history will adjudge to be true, are the worst commanders and elected representatives ever "in charge".

Nonetheless, I am grateful for your insights provided these many months and for the tremendous sense of calm in which you wrote them. Yours has been an intellectual and emotional feat that I admire very much.

Of late, I've questioned myself as a writer; my little weekly piece about fruit and vegetables seems so insubstantial in the overall scheme of things. Then, I think, well, at least I'm writing something about which I have passion and a point of view. Maybe we just do the best in the situation that is available to us.

Keith, you have done amazingly well as a representative of the armed forces, Oregon, your family and friends. For me, even if I did not know you, you have inspired me as a writer. I wish you well for your safe and speedy return home.

Pete Petersen

Keith said...

Thank you for the kind words Pete, I value your good will and support, and I think that we have both been given the opportunity to contribute to the public discussion about things that we know about. I think that is valuable. The trap is to think that if it isn't controversial it is not valuable. Keep it up, enjoy it, and we will catch up over a bottle of wine some time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Keith,
Good job, buddy!! I think the blog has kept you and yours going nicely for your tour. I know you'll be glad to be home and I know Leo will be glad too.
Personally, I have enjoyed your experiences and points of view. I hope to see you sometime soon!
Love, Alice

Josh said...

That blog did put things in perspective. Thanks for sharing it.

Glad to hear you're starting to safely make it back. It has been great to read your blogs and sorry that I haven't been around much. Are you going to continue with this blog?

Keith said...

I really haven't figured out what to do with this after I get home. I have a feeling that it will become self evident within a month or two of arrival. Thanks for the correspondence Josh.