Saturday, September 11, 2004

We will not falter; we will not fail -- I pray not!

It is still 11 September in the US. 11 September started off with a bang here in Baghdad. Mortars woke Dan and I out of bed at 6am, scrambling to find our gear. Mid-afternoon started another round. I counted 12. I know of two Iraqi guards who were killed and two who were seriously injured, in that round.

Well, 12 September did not start out much better. It all happened so quickly. 0630...I heard tanks, gunfire, mortars and rockets within the Green Zone. A handful of random people swarmed to the nearest bunker, where I sat with my helmet and vest in my pjs on a box of water. We all sat numb at first.

After some time, numb changed to a semi-calm. Comfort in numbers, I suppose. Of course, concrete on all sides does help too. People began to chat. One person was commenting on the cool breeze, a relief from previous days of intense heat. Another was speaking off contracts coming up for re-bid. Another was speaking of his flavored coffee and his new coffeemaker. I struck conversation with an Italian, who has served 25 years in the Italian military. He was looking forward to returning home in two months, which would cap his four month tour. Lucky. I am sure our military would welcome such short tours. His discouraged spirit seemed to shift, once I had him speaking of how he recently acquired two badges around his elbows. He said, "The medical clinic tried to take some blood." You should have seen the bruises he had. He stated the physician's aid was a trainee. Unfortunate for him...and probably for the rest of the wounded. Grief.

Mortars continued for over an hour. The "voice on the loud speaker" continued to sound like Charlie Brown's schoolteacher, "Blah, blah, blah......take cover...blah, blah, blah..." We waited for the "All Clear." But, gunfire was still heard off in the distance, while more mortars took the skies. A billowing ball of black exuded from the Palace. Rumors abound. What is going on? Some said it was a diesel tank...a palm tree...

Thank goodness for SMS. Dan had already left for breakfast. His cell was off, at first. But, voila', the incoming call I needed to receive soon came. He kept me sane, letting me know he was alive and ok in the Palace. We chatted over our cells, in quick texts.
"OK?"
"Yes. Heard that one?"
"Yes. Love you."
"Love you too."

After a two-minute shower and quick dash to the carpool spot, I am finally at work. Dan is trying to restore his dying laptop. I decided to write my thoughts down, before handling the many tasks I have on hand. Best get going. More news articles to post to www.mnstci.iraq.centcom.mil, before tackling the intranet site and some ASP newletter code.

Hope all is well with everyone. I hope to post daily.

PS: Love that man named Dan! I thought our dog, Spencer, had to be turned over to a pound. The person watching him, while we are tooling around the Middle East, works for FEMA and had to go to Florida. Understandable. But, Dan managed to coordinate for the person to deliver Spencer to his sister's. He just informed me today. Too cool!

4 Comments:

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tara Shay,
I am so glad to see that you started an online journal. It is a weirdly wonderful way to vent your feelings. I am glad that I can keep up with what is going on in your life. I miss you and love you very much. I am so proud of what you and Dan are doing over there. You are in my prayers and thoughts everyday. Love from your little sis, Kaci xoxo

 
At 11:16 PM, Blogger Larry said...

Tara, you and Dan both know that Spencer comes here before a shleter!

 
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