Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thank You For All Of Your Support

I arrived home in late October to a hero’s welcome - not one I expected, nor felt I deserved, but nonetheless I appreciated all of the gratitude I received from friends and family when I got off the plane in Raleigh, NC. I was shocked to see that my baby, who was 10 weeks old when I left, was actually walking and came right to me as if I’d never been anywhere. Once again his, “matter of fact” attitude really put things in perspective. My wife and older boys looked great and we all embraced each other with a true sense that this stage of our lives was finally complete.

I gradually settled in back home, trying my best not to completely disrupt the system my wife had set up in my absence. I visited my former employer and we talked about my return to work. I was reacquainted with my neighbors, Rotary, and church, who all expressed in a variety of ways their appreciation for my service. I feel as though my life has been changed and I will forever see things in a different light.

Several months have passed now, and I was encouraged to write this final update to the journal. I find it humorous that at first I wanted nothing to do with the BLOG and now I am extremely proud to be a part of it (Thanks Patrick) I’ve said my “thanks” to all of the people that supported me and my family over the past year, and I’ve spoken publicly several times about the positive experiences I had while deployed to Iraq. My experiences in Iraq, with the soldiers I served with, the places I traveled, the situations I encountered and the fact that we accomplished our part of the mission and brought home everyone we took with us leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction that is euphoric. As the media and some politicians continue to downgrade the progress we’ve made in Iraq, I can testify that my exposure to the country and the progress that I witnessed was worthy of the sacrifices I made for the cause of freedom for the Iraqi people. I believe that years from now we will look back at “Operation Iraqi Freedom” as on of the greatest military successes of all time.

As with most veterans, you can’t predict how your experiences will affect your life once you return home. For me, my family and I were able to settle back into a normal regiment of family activities and it wasn’t long before the kids forgot all about Daddy’s recent absence. I was compelled to push myself professionally and decided not to go back to my old job. I’ve taken a new leadership position that requires my family and I to move out of state, to sunny Florida. I’m here now and preparing a place for my family to live and start our new adventure. I have less than four years remaining on my 20 year goal in the military, and I will remain ready to serve and deploy again when called.

I’ve always been a pretty excitable person but I find myself more stimulated by just living life than ever before. I believe, more than ever, that you shouldn’t spend one second of one day cross with a neighbor or at odds with any person or situation that doesn’t directly affect your life or livelihood. That’s not to say don’t be passionate about what you do or believe in, just take a step back and look at the big picture from time to time; keep things in perspective. I’m confident that the opportunities we have in this country are unmatched anywhere else in the world, and more people should be thankful every day for the blessing it is to be an American and the privilege it is to live in this country. Remember that the freedom we enjoy with every breath of every day came from the lives of those who fought before us and that there are more struggling civilizations out there begging for a glimpse of the freedom that most of us take for granted everyday. We are a God fearing, giving, nation and it is our duty to help those in need.

God Bless you all for the thoughts and prayers you send to our Government and Military Leaders. Please believe that every prayer counts and is appreciated.

Take Care, and God Bless.