A fellow Marine who was also my driver, and friend Michael Huie inspired me to write about this topic as I also shared the same change of how my outlook of the world changed when I saw it through my combat veteran eyes. In his webtv he speaks of how much more is appreciated than before a deployment to Afghanistan. Patrick Lloyd was another who mentioned the American people definetly do not have it that bad.
I will touch on some info on Afghanistan that I haven't read, unless in translated english by an Afghan. Some of the most beautiful nights I've seen were in Afghanistan. Crystal clear nights with every star possible to see, where the moon lit the way for us. On my first night patrol I stepped off nervous knowing the ied threat was everywhere and now with limited vision made them tougher to spot. The night was actually comforting. We would fit 3 to four Marines to sleep in a spot big enough for one. My comfort would come from looking at the sky, feeling the warm breeze at night, I don't recall ever being able to see the milky way before. To me it was feeling of freedom, you know where you feel a breeze and can lift your head and close your eyes, one of the best feelings!
After returning to the US I decided my fiance and I needed a well deserved vacation to the virgin islands. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. The water so clear no matter how deep you could see the bottom, white sand, the mountains and trees. Thankfully I saw this all after my deployment to Afghanistan or I would not have fully appreciated it as much. One of my personal goals I've set for myself is to open a bar/restaurant and have a vacation home there.
The world through combat veterans eyes does look different than from that of one who hasn't seen war. I get the freedom breeze as I call it almost on a regular basis now that my enlistment is almost over. Alot of me still wants to help Afghanistan, especially its children, so one day they can finally appreciate and look around and maybe for the first time see the beauty of Afghanisan. They deserve to appreciate those Afghan nights much more than I ever did.
Afghanistan is a beautiful country, from the snow capped mountaines of the north, to the desert nights of Marjah. I think those desert nights sometimes were equally as beautiful as looking out my window onto St. Thomas.