Saturday, September 02, 2006


From a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in Iraq.

On each patrol we take through the city, we
take as many toys as will fit in our pockets
and hand them out as we can. The kids take
the toys and run to show them off as if they
were worth a million bucks.

On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle
stopped in the middle of the street. This is
not normal and is very unsafe, so the following
vehicles began to inquire over the radio. The
lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in
the road and said she just would not budge.
The command vehicle told the lead to simply
go around her.

As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her
sitting there and in her arms she was clutching
a little bear that we had handed her a few
patrols back. Feeling an immediate connection
to the girl, I radioed that we were going to
stop. The rest of the convoy paused and I got
out to make sure she was OK. The little girl
looked scared and concerned, but there was a
warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down
to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to
a mine in the road.

Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine
convoy assumed a defensive posture around the
site. The mine was destroyed in place.

It was the heart of an American that sent that
toy. It was the heart of an American that gave
that toy to that little girl. It was the heart
of a tiny Iraqi girl that protected that convoy
from that mine. It was a heart of acceptance,
of tolerance, of peace and grace, even through
the inconveniences of conflict that saved that
convoy from hitting that mine.

She may have no affiliation at all with the
United States, but she knows what it is to be
brave. And if we can continue to support her
and her new government, she will know what it
is to be free.


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