THE CHILDREN OF IRAQ are among our greatest joys and greatests inspirations. Like children everywhere, they are innocent, curious, sweet and fun-loving. They are also incredibly resilient. Everywhere I go, I see kids laughing, playing and smiling - often in conditions and circumstances that would make a lot of adults cry. So many of the Marines and Soldiers I meet share my love for the kids... For many of us, they remind us of our own children, which is a passing comfort. For all of us, they represent a hope for the future and and visible symbol of why we are here. Iraq right now in the post-Saddam era is like a patient just after major surgery to remove a cancer. Her condition is in some ways weak and guarded. What we all hope is that this difficult surgery will ultimately lead to a healthy future for these dear children. Troops will go out of their way to do something nice for a child, often exposing themselves to additional dangers to do so. When I ask them about this, the response is invariably that they hope that little boy or girl will always remember that small act of kindness and understand that Americans really do care about them and want to help. We will continue to do all that we can for every citizen of Iraq, but it is in these youngest Iraqis that we place the greatest hope.
The author is a high school history teacher and Marine reservist whose mission is to help document Marine Corps history as it occurs. This blog contains some of his personal observations and reflections as he works to document the role of the Marine Corps in the global war on terror. The opinions herein are his alone and should not be construed as those of the United States Marine Corps or Department of Defense.