While I was in the Army, I served a year in Afghanistan and a year in Iraq. I was lucky to get to experience both places! That's me being sarcastic. In today's world, there are so many of us that have been deployed, had a relative deploy, or known a friend that has deployed. It's almost impossible to find someone this war has not touched in a personal way. For each of us, this long war has been very different. I wouldn't dare compare my experiences to a soldier who goes outside of the wire every day in a Humvee, or to my husband, who flew the skies of Iraq numerous times a day and night. I was relatively safe, considering the circumstances. But we were bombed on a daily basis, mostly at night when we would be sleeping. So it became a joke that the sirens going off were our regular wake up call or alarm clock if you will, saying, "BUNKER BUNKER BUNKER," with the sounds of the explosions in the background. There's nothing like waking up in a hurry to run and hide in a tight concrete tunnel, wondering where the mortars were hitting and how close they were to you, or hearing the call to prayer five times a day over the intercoms throughout the city. Where the heck am I going with all of this?
|In the bunker|
At the end of the movie, when Ben and the six diplomats were sitting on that plane, as it slowly picked up enough speed until it was off the ground and soaring through the sky to Switzerland, I felt what they were feeling. While my circumstances were quite different from theirs, since they were fleeing and fearing for their lives, I remember the butterflies in my stomach as I boarded a plane to leave Afghanistan and Iraq. It's not like your regular flight, where you have a ticket and a departure and arrival time. We were basically told in a matter of days, as to what day we would be leaving. And on that day, we would sit and wait, and sit and wait, and sit and wait some more, until a plane finally landed on the airfield to take us out of country. The amount of relief I felt cannot even be explained as I sat on that plane, leaving this place behind forever after a very long year, knowing I was going to be back in the United States soon, driving my car again, eating out, shopping, resting, swimming, seeing family and friends, etc. It's a nervous feeling, like, "Is this really happening? Am I really leaving this place?"
|The first few hours on a plane like this are NOT comfy|
It's a long journey home, feeling like a lifetime because you want it so bad you can almost taste it. After leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, we went to a holding facility in another middle eastern country, where the heat was so unbearable you felt like your insides were burning when you breathed the air in. After spending a few days there, we finally boarded a real airplane. The kind we all think are so uncomfortable and we can't believe we paid $800 for a seat. But to us, it was heaven. Even the TV dinners they fed us on the plane tasted amazing. I can remember stopping in Ireland to refuel, and the smell of green grass hitting me the instant I stepped off of the plane. And I don't mean the fresh cut grass you all smell in the Summer time. I'm talking the legit smell of grass because you haven't seen it, touched it, or smelled it in a year. After a 30+ hour flight, my feet were back on U.S. soil, and if it couldn't get any better, both times it was the soil of Hawaii. ALOHA!