The views expressed here are the author’s alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

  • White Amazon Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon

© 2019 Paul Endris, all rights reserved

  • Black Amazon Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon

Today, we shared my journal.
In turn, we shared our stories.
And tonight, a reunion brought us home from the battlefield.

Men growing older with memories of combat scrolled through journal passages recorded during the heart of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Each entry plunged us back to Southeast Baghdad during Iraq's descent into sectarian violence.

Recalling our deployment to Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah, we reminisced about patrols along the Tigris River, down bomb-cratered roads called Route Pluto or Wild, into disintegrating neighborhoods like Jisr Diyala. We revisited our past and a story of a fracturing Iraq through words only written, now finally spoken.

We came to terms with truths of those battles that challenged our innermost wartime convictions. In a conflict without a ticker-tape victory parade, how do you find closure? How do you soldier forward?