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Coming Home

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I'm sitting here in Kansas the night before I come Home for the summer.  Thoughts come and go thru my mind as I reflect on this last deployment.  We have been in the states for 3 days now and I've already been asked a few times if my sacrifice, time away from family and friends was worth it.  The overall easy answer to this question is yes, yes it was worth every second of my time away.  That is my quick answer, but here Ill explain why it is my answer.

I've spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan now and what has kept me going back(and back again) is the children of both Countries.  Ill give you two examples, one from each Country.  In Iraq, I met a young man who spoke very good English, so we get to talking and I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He answered that he wanted to be an engineer to build dams and invent some type of irrigation system to help the Iraqi infrastructure.  He told me a brief History of Iraq, and how it was once a very fertile Country.  After we talked I gave him my Arabic/English dictionary and I wished him luck in all his dreams and endeavors.  If the time I spent there helps that one, just that one young dreamer-then YES my sacrifice was worth it.  

This tour in Afghanistan, I met a boy named Hazim.  Hazim is a firecracker of a boy with a smile that never stops and lights up everyone's day.  Hazim and I were discussing him wanting to join the Afghan Army.  I told him he was to young to join and fight the taliban.  Hazim's smile went away, and the most serious look came across his face as he said it again as if I didn't understand him.  He wasn't asking me to join, he was telling me he was joining.  To get him off track, I asked him why at 10 years old he would want to join the Army(Afghan) On a side note, he wasn't naive with a false sense of what it meant to be in the Army-he was fully aware that he would be fighting the taliban.  He looked up at me with cold, steel-blue eyes, fighting back tears and said "I just want my mom and dad to have one day of peace before they die."  Sometimes, even over here, its easy to forget that the Afghan people have seen war, non-stop for over 30 years.  So YES it is worth my sacrifice, my time, my sweat and my blood-my life if needed.  

I will enjoy my time at home this summer, trust me I will, but come fall it will be time for me to answer the call once more and Ill say YES.  Isaiah 6:8 states " the Lord asked, whom shall I send? who will go for us?  and I said, here I am, send me"  So Yes, Ill be back and Ill make the sacrifice again.  

Take care and it will be nice to see the sunset over Lookout Mountain this weekend(but I hear its going to rain)

SSG Billy Massingale
NCOIC, 2ND LST

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