The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

SO IT GOES FORWARD |

August 31, 2007

SO IT GOES FORWARD
Name: American Soldier
Posting date: 8/31/07
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog url: soldierlife.com

I sat in the terminal waiting for my flight to be called, my wife and I enjoying our last moments together. I remember them clearly and all the emotions involved. It was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Across from us was a couple the same age as us, holding each other's hands and enjoying the moment.

For me it was getting ready to leave my life forever. For them it was an overdue vacation. He had returned from the war earlier that year and he and his wife were going home to family. He asked me if I was coming or going. I told him I was going, a common phrase that is often shared when traveling. Sort of like the nod you get when you know someone else is a soldier. The quiet respectful gesture.

We got to talking and it wasn’t very long before we started to share similar interests and commonalities. If I wasn’t leaving I would have befriended this couple. At one point he reached into his wallet and pulled out a four leaf clover. It was laminated but the exterior had a worn look. He told me he got it from another soldier before he left for Iraq the year before. He wanted to give it to me, and said that sometimes luck is all you’ll ever have. I gladly accepted and thanked him. The time was drawing to an end, so my wife and I spent those precious moments by ourselves. When it was time to go I thanked him again and shook his hand. The rest of that story is for another time.

Fast forward to last week, and I was sitting in the same airport, terminal and row of seats. A soldier who had that fresh-from-Iraq tan came and sat down next to me. He was quiet and was just looking at the ground. Some folks looked on and went about their business, reading their papers, etc. Some people looked at him, trying to not catch his attention. A few minutes had gone by and I turned to him and asked if he was coming or going. He looked at me and said he was heading back. Fresh off his two week leave, he was heading to his unit to finish his duty.

We exchanged small talk, just two soldiers talking about nothing really. I was on my way out on business. The time was drawing near and my plane was ready to go. I reached in my wallet to check if I had some cash or if I needed to hit the ATM. The edge of the laminate that held the four leaf clover scratched my finger. I looked at it and smiled for a moment. The memory of that day all came back in an instant.

I pulled it out and looked to the soldier and told him that I was given this last year, before I left for Iraq, and that I made it back despite being wounded. Sometimes luck is all I ever relied on over there. I told him that I would like him to have it and said that this would be at least the third trip for this clover. He gladly accepted it.

The call came for my plane to board and I stood up and shook his hand. I smiled and shook my head slightly. He smiled back and understood. I grabbed my bag and headed off.

Wherever that soldier is tonight I hope that I in some way I have brought him some luck and that clover continues to make its way into other soldiers' hands. Paying it forward is always better than simply paying it back.

Comments

Great story

Thank You so much! May that clover roam on wings into many hearts. I'm glad you're back.

That was a very heart-warming story with a great message that we all tend to forget at times. Thanks.

I am sorry that I did not post this sooner but I had to let your thoughts sink in. I want to say thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I also want to say thank you for being the soldier that you are. If it were not for you and your comrades we would not have the lifestyle we have today.

That said, I am so glad that the first soldier found you to pass on his luck. Since you say you were wounded I am more than positive that clover and our prayers from home are what brought you back safely. I am also very glad that you were able to pass that clover on to another soldier. I pray for his safe return also.


I am sorry that I did not post this sooner but I had to let your thoughts sink in. I want to say thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I also want to say thank you for being the soldier that you are. If it were not for you and your comrades we would not have the lifestyle we have today.

That said, I am so glad that the first soldier found you to pass on his luck. Since you say you were wounded I am more than positive that clover and our prayers from home are what brought you back safely. I am also very glad that you were able to pass that clover on to another soldier. I pray for his safe return also.


This is a beautiful and heartwarming story. I think as Kathy has indicated above, that there are now two layers to the clover. She has added her prayers to the luck and so have I. Others will as well, I am certain. You are so right. It is better to pay it forward than to pay it back. God bless you, the original owner and the soldier now serving that he too will make it home safely to his family.

This was very emotional but in a good way. I never thought that anyone would put their life in the hand of luck. But it's nice to think that something as little as a four leaf clover has the power to protect you. It gives you some hope and security in certain situations. I hope that it gives other soldiers the security and as well as hope.

That was a very moving story. I hope that clover continues to keep the soldiers safe. I am glad that you are back here and passed on the hope to other soldiers. Thank you.

First off I want to say that you are a very good writer. That you are brave and patriotic and caring goes without saying. I'm in an English class in college and one of our assignments is to peruse these boards and make a few comments. I'm sure most posts go into the particulars of your current profession and assignment, so I just wanted to break the mold for once and talk about something else, in this case the way you wrote your post.

As I said, I found it really very well written...more like an article than a message board post. I was right there with you in the terminal. I could see the green 4 leaf clover, I could hear the bustle of airport traffic. Most of all I could get the sense of comradeship that you all share. I enjoyed very much reading your words.

I was drawn into your story from the first words, but it was your last that prompted me to reply. To pay it forward has become very important to me and am always touched to hear of others doing the same. The words "Thank you" are just not enough. You have given so much of yourself already, and to continue to give more is remarkable. I have never met you, yet I owe you so much. Thank you for who you are and all you've done and continue to do.

I was drawn into your story from the first words, but it was your last that prompted me to reply. To pay it forward has become very important to me and am always touched to hear of others doing the same. The words "Thank you" are just not enough. You have given so much of yourself already, and to continue to give more is remarkable. I have never met you, yet I owe you so much. Thank you for who you are and all you've done and continue to do.

That's one hell of a weed.

Incredible. You are a very skilled and developed writer who has experienced many traumatic events and is able to eloquently express them. I hope you are able to return safely and God bless.

Incredible. You are a very skilled and developed writer who has experienced many traumatic events and is able to eloquently express them. I hope you are able to return safely and God bless.

Incredible. You are a very skilled and developed writer who has experienced many traumatic events and is able to eloquently express them. I hope you are able to return safely and God bless.

That is such a great story. I know that wherever that solder is you DID make a lasting impression on him and I know that he has thought about that moment many times since just as you did. It is moments like those and the encouraging stories that are the best luck we can have! I am glad to hear you are back and that the four leaf clover was put to good use by you. Thank you for serving us! You are a real hero.

Passing on the clover was a wonderful act and is something people should do more of in their own lives. Good luck with all of your endeavors!

That is a wonderful story. The camaraderie and concern that is displayed among the troops is something this country needs more of.

If I had anything to offer to keep you all safe I would empty it out. Instead, all my thoughts and prayers are with you.

The way you presented this story was wonderful. It played out just like a short film or something of the like, but the fact that it really happened adds that extra layer of warmth to it. The fact that a simple sign of luck can hold so much meaning is a happy and hopeful thought.

Wow I do not even know what to say. I could not imagine my husband leaving for Iraq and not knowing whether he will return. I love the four leaf clover, hopefully it brings you luck. It is just like the country song that talks about the people who help each other I cannot remember the title, but I swear there is a song. Good luck! God Bless America!

I can hardly express how much respect I have for those of you who risk everything over there for us back at home. I really appreciate all you do and hope that four leaf clover brings you and many others luck for the rest of your days.

What a wonderful story of camaraderie! I hope you the best. I'll be keeping you and that poor soldier in my prayers.

Such a beautifully written story...it is a fact that you soldiers alone know the horror you face and the pride you take in your job. You take care of each other and you handing over your clover was how you were taking care of him, wishing him luck. Your story moved me and with each blog I read, there is a greater appreciation for your "job." From the bottom of my heart and those of my 2 kids, THANK YOU for your bravery. For our troops still fighting this horrific war, BE SAFE and COME HOME SOON!

What a wonderful story. The emotions a person must go through saying good-bye to a loved one, not once, not twice, but over and over as time goes on. Just to see your husband or wife for a few short weeks and then have them shipped back overseas and back into dangers arms is something I don’t know if I could handle.

I thank you sincerely for sharing your story and I hope that the clover makes a safe return once more. God Bless.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c5f3053ef00e008d5c6238834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference SO IT GOES FORWARD :

« Previous Article | Main | Next Article »




Search Doonesbury Sandbox Blog

LINKS


About

My Photo

FEATURED BOOK