Sunday, April 29, 2007

And the children smiled

One of the best things to happen to me since this war started was a couple days ago. I participated in a Civil Military Operation. We took coloring books, crayons and supplies to a local village school. The children were so excited to see us. The gunships did their job while the dismount crew (including me) got out and went inside.

The boys came out and stood in line to carry boxes. They almost seemed offended when a soldier tried to carry a box. They all spoke a few words in broken English. “What’s up?” or “How Hanging?” As we got inside, some soldiers took bags of goodies to the classrooms. The kids are funny and always wanted to trade things, or have you give them stuff. They would take the goody bags and hide them, then put on a sad face and try to get another. It was very amusing. After all the bags were handed out, they let us walk around for a bit and greet the children, teachers and staff. Many of us had cameras and you could tell they had their pictures taken many times. They would smile big and hold up their bags or give us a hug.

For a brief moment, I forgot I am at war. I could tell in their eyes that some of these children forgot too. Some of them had hatred in their hearts for us and did not want us there. I don’t think I have ever seen such hate in the eyes of a child. It must have been like back in the times of segregation in our own history. That hatred can only be originated and fueled in the home. Maybe America killed his dad, or maybe his dad blew up trying to set a bomb for us. His dad, brother or friends may be insurgents fighting the Americans and he his stuck at school.

Most of the children seemed to enjoy us being there. Most of them smiled and laughed and played; like children do. It was good to see. They are children, young and pure. They are children, and for a moment, so was I.