Mrs. Alana D. Sherrill
July 11, 2004
Seven thirty in the morning and it already is 120 degrees in the shade. Mail call brings me no news from home. The word around Camp New Jersey is that we move into Iraq at 0400 hours tomorrow morning. This means that all mail will stop for the next two weeks. My mood is destroyed.
Four in the morning, I am checking my vehicles temperature as a drive out of Camp New Jersey and towards the Iraqi border. There is a news correspondent that told me he would get in touch with my family and relay any news from home, so I feel a little bit better. As the sun kisses the horizon, I see why there is such thing as religion in this world. The pink and orange stained clouds construct the most breathtaking ceiling in the horizon. For a few minutes I forget that Im driving into a fire zone and feel as if Im driving into the welcoming arms of some ancient God.
Eight twenty two in the morning, we are seventeen clicks into Iraq. The desert is a breathtaking sight. I cant help but think that Im driving through the ancient kingdom of Babylon. These are the same sense that Moses crossed with millions of Jews.
The unforgiving landscape somehow seems defiled by this concrete and asphalt road.
Nine forty two in the morning; and I see for the first time the image that would hunt my dreams for the rest of my life. There he is, a child that has not seen eight winters yet. Hes begging for food on the side of the road. To him we are not the saviors of his country, or the monsters that are sure to kill his people; its much simpler than that, to him all we are is possible meal, a chance that tonight he wont go to bed hungry. His parents are sitting in front of a small nearby hut, for them were also a chance to eat, so they let their child continue. My thermometer reads 147°; God only knows how hot the asphalt is under the childs bare feet.
Ten thirty three and the child is far behind. We have taken several casualties in the last thirty minutes. The ambush came from nowhere. But as I lay in the ground firing at the enemy so the medics can evacuate the wounded, all I can think of is how lucky I am. I dont have to figure out a way so my children can eat, I dont have to beg for food, and I know how to read and write. So I make a decision and a promise. I promise whatever higher power is out