The ripples of an Afghan experience

Yesterday I began production on a new project.  This is bittersweet.  Bitter because I’ve been so focused on Afghanistan for so long and it will be a challenge to finally wrap this all up, sweet because as an gainfully employed television producer it’s good to have a pipeline of stories to tell.  

Though this project is no longer making tsunamis in my life the gentle ripples of my experiences continue to spread.  I’m not climbing in and out of armored vehicles.  I’m not the ‘plus one’ on dismounted patrols to rural villages in southeastern Afghanistan.  I’m not airborne over arid, Martian-looking, landscapes.  I’m no longer finding people living vicariously through my experiences.  I’m just a guy who is fortunate to have some stories to share. 

MISS LEILA – I’ll keep her full name  to myself.  A few days ago I received a phone call at home.  This is rare.  We have a phone; it rings a few times a week.  I was doing dishes, my wife answered, she handed me the phone with a “I don’t know who this is” look.  The voice on the other end of the phone began to tell me about her experiences in Afghanistan in the 1950s.  Miss Leila invited me to her home for lunch.  Last Friday we met for a light lunch; Miss Leila is a jewel of a woman.  Her husband was an ambassador to a small African country of Togo.  Her home is adorned with museum-quality prints depicting her travels.  She has stories.  She has stories of shipping personal vehicles from New York to southern Asia, she has stories of raising children in Afghanistan, she has stories of living in Kabul.  She tracked me down to share her stories with someone who has been to Afghanistan.  I’m glad she did.

MISS DAWN – Miss Dawn and I go to the same church.  After service on Sunday I had tracked her down to chat with her.  Miss Dawn in a Blue Star Mom.  Blue Star Mothers are some of the most loyal supporters of the Military you’ll find.  They all have an intense and passionate vested-interest for they all have a child in the Military.  I’ve presented to a group of Blue Star Moms before and it was an outstanding experience.  I was invited to chat about my time in 2009 with the Minnesota National Guard in Basra, Iraq. 

On Sunday I let Miss Dawn know that if her chapter of Blue Star Moms had a loose agenda at any up coming meetings I’d be honored to be able to speak to them about my experiences of the Minnesota National Guard in Zabul, Afghanistan.  I went on to tell her a few stories about how prepared the Soldiers are, about how the Mississippi National Guard is provided security, about how different Afghanistan is from Iraq.  I got goosebumps telling the stories, she got goosebumps hearing the stories.  I look forward to being able to share stories of the incredible things the Guard is doing with an audience of good folks who, regardless of branch, are eager to hear about what their collective sons and daughters are doing in Afghanistan.  Thrilled to be able to share.

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY DAY – Last week the emails started flying.  A tpt executive began corresponding with an executive from Minnesota AARP.  On July 2 AARP is sponsoring an event at the Minnesota History Museum.  Defenders of Democracy Day is a great idea, if you are: active-duty, a Veteran, or a card carrying member of AARP you should check it out for you get a private showing of the United States Constitution & the Bill of Rights. From 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., with a program honoring Veterans and Active-Duty Military at noon. Event is free to Active-Duty Military, Veterans, AARP Members, and their families!  Make a comment below if you’d like more information, I’ll set you up with more information.

Wouldn’t it be great, it was discussed, if between speakers at this event those in attendance would be able to see and hear some stories of what Minnesota’s Soldiers are continuing to do?  Sure would.  Could tpt pull together some short clips from stories they’ve produced?  Sure could.  Minnesota Veterans: Home and Hope, Iraq and Back, and Bridging War and Hope will all have a small part in celebrating our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Quite an honor.

Splashy stories of embedding with a Unit in Afghanistan will continue to allow me to have rich experiences of chatting with many more people like Miss Leila, Miss Dawn and the folks organizing the Defenders of Democracy Day.  I’m glad there continue to be reasons to let me share my experiences with audiences…regardless of their numbers.  If they have an interest, I have a story.