The war in Iraq must be all but over since we don’t hear much about it on the nightly news any more. We still have about 40-thousand American troops over there but the main mission now appears to be propping up a shaky Iraqi army and government so we can clean up our mess and get the heck out of there in 2012; 9 years after we first went in. In recent years, we’ve concentrated our efforts on Afghanistan in hopes of rooting out Islamic terrorists holed up there and killing off the leader of the pack, Osama bin Laden..the guy who planned 9-11. Trouble is, most experts now believe that bin Laden is either dead or high tailed it to Pakistan a long time ago. It all seems to be a mess that, like other recent wars, has no clear objectives or exit strategy. And now it is PERSONAL.
Linda and my grandson, Taylor Smith, is probably landing in Afghanistan right about the time I’m writing this. I’ve talked here before about Taylor. He’s always been a big hearted considerate kid with a dream to follow in the footsteps of his dad and grandfather by becoming a U.S. Marine. He signed up shortly after graduating from West Central High School.
The Marine Corps is legendary for its grueling demands both physically and mentally especially during basic training. But Taylor endured it better than most because he’d been training for those challenges all his life. Although younger than many of the other new Marines, Taylor’s dedication and performance first led to leadership positions within the infantry ranks and then he was hand picked to serve in one of the Corps’ most elite units: providing security at the Presidential retreat, Camp David. During his time there, Taylor regularly went jogging with then President, George W. Bush and later scrimmaged basketball with President Obama. But, while it was a prestigious assignment..okay, maybe even a cushy one, Taylor was ready for his Camp David tour to be over.
Now, you should know that he is not one of those stereotypical gung-ho robot-like types just itchin’ to get into a fight. He simply wanted to do his duty and serve alongside his fellow Marines wherever the war against terror is being waged. And so now we, his family..like so many others.. must spend the next year anxiously waiting for any and all news coming out of that god-forsaken country. I don’t mind telling you that we’re all extremely proud of Taylor but pretty darn scared too. However some of that fear is tempered by the knowledge that he’s a young man of faith and in addition to his own prayers, he’ll have plenty of others being offered up for his safe return.