A Beautiful Day

Today, January 30, 2005, a new Iraq was born.

As fate would have it, today is also my birthday - so this comes as a very special "birthday present" for me. A little background: fourteen years ago, my unit was stationed on the Saudi/Kuwaiti border awaiting our orders to go into Kuwait. On the night of January 29, we got the word that a column of enemy armor had crossed into Saudi Arabia and attacked the town of Khafji. We engaged them, and lost two vehicles and several men that night - the first Allied casualties of the ground conflict. For me, the anniversary of our losses at Khafji cast a shadow over my birthday each year since then - as did our failure to finish the job back in 1991.

Today, I can celebrate my birthday with unmingled joy, because it is also the birthday of a free and democratic Iraq.