That means as of today, four thousand U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq.
Earlier today, I was reading the journal of an anonymous LJ soldier whose journal I had never seen before. It seems fitting to share some of his words today, if only to remember all those who are still out there.
"It's warm inside to ward off the cold, and it's taking its toll on me: I'm nodding off, getting cozy. I get up to stretch my legs, and go out to the bay for a second.
I open the back door, and step into the night. The cool air slaps me across the face, waking me up and bringing me back to the reality that is this place. I close the door behind me, and it's all gone. I can't hear Claudio belting out about lost loves anymore. It's just me, the desert, and the helicopters.
Now, I clearly hear the rotors beating as they try and build enough to get going. And this is all I can hear. It doesn't even register as abnormal. I think to myself "Oh, the helicopters are gearing up. Guess someone's about to catch hell." And I'm on with my evening.
Let me try this again: I'm at WAR.
That statement doesn't make sense. No matter how I try and spell it out, reorganize what I know, whatever....I am on the other side of the planet. There are people dying. And, however indirectly, I am responsible for that. For the deaths of other people.
I get distracted at times by the fact that we've managed to punch through the firewall to hit LJ and MySpace and stuff. But, then, in moments like this, it hits. Hard.
I can't go see my friends. I can't go get a drink. I can't. I can't.
Helicopters are pressing in on me. This sucks so bad.
And you try to seek refuge inside yourself. You think about how little you've got left. How you're on the home stretch, and you'll be "home" soon. You'll be able to see your family, your friends. You can curl up in a ball and hold onto someone that makes you feel better. About yourself, about them, about your life.
But then, like some sneaky evil gremlin, thoughts creep up your spine; tormenting your subconscious. And you start to question the validity of the memories and ideas you entertain about going "home".
Do the states, anywhere therein, even qualify as "home" for me anymore? I mean...I know more of this country in recent years than I do of my own. And the people I think of when I dream...are they themselves at all? Am I caricaturing them into a niche no longer belonging to them?"