I wish every American a very Happy Fourth of July! It is good to be home for this one, but I still look back on last year while I was in Iraq.
Surprisingly the enemy didn't hit my base on this day, but less than a week later they hit us with such a devastating blow. The only casualty suffered during my time in Iraq came in the form of my neighbor. At the early hours of the morning I walked over to the base's Tactical Operating Center (TOC) where I worked. I had not even fully sat into my chair when the incoming alarm sounded. The impacts landed close and shook the TOC, but I wasn't nearly as scared until they announced it had landed in my living area, and that there was a casualty. I was scared it was one of my guys. It wasn't any of my Platoon members, but the rocket had landed right next to my housing unit and killed my neighbor, SGT Talamantez.
I will spare the gruesome details. You could tell that the whole base's attitude had changed that day. While many didn't know him personally, myself included, we all felt the loss. He left a wife, a son, and a daughter. He is, but one example of those who have fallen wearing the uniform. Please remember him and all who have served, and given everything for their country. Celebrate this day to honor their memory.
Remember what our Founders fought for and what so few fight for today!