Sunday, August 26, 2007

Americans, Iraqis interact at historical monument; OTB

23 Aug 07
by Master Sgt. Dwayne Gordon
407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs.

ALI BASE, Iraq (AFPN) - Approximately 80 Iraqis from the city of An Nasiriyah interacted for the first time with Airmen and Soldiers at the Ziggurat historical monument Aug. 21 at Ali Base.

It has been more than 10 years since any Iraqi native has been allowed to visit the Ziggurat of Ur, which is the most dominant landmark on Ali Base, because during the reign of Suddam Hussein the installation was used by the Iraqi army.

The Ziggurat was constructed more than 4,000 years ago by worshipers of the moon god Nanna living near the ancient city of Ur. Rising more than 70 feet above the ground, it is one of the best preserved structures of its type in the world. The life of the Ziggurat is closely tied with the city of Ur itself. Passages in the Bible's Book of Genesis describe Ur as the starting point of the migration westward to Palestine for the family of Abraham around 1,900 B.C. Ali Base is said to exist alongside the ancient city of Ur.

After processing through base security, two bus loads of Iraqi families arrived at the Ziggurat greeted by more than 100 Airmen and Soldiers. The families were then led to the top of the Ziggurat where, Sheik Mohammad, the spiritual leader of the group, gathered the families together and while holding the Iraqi flag, they began to sing an Iraqi song. After the song, Sheik Mohammad spoke to the American servicemembers about how long it has been since any Iraqi was able to visit the site and how they respect anyone who respects them and their historical sites.

"Events like this help the Iraqi people have a positive outlook on Americans," said Airman 1st Class Robin Lumm, a 407th Expeditionary Communications Squadron small-computer technician who helped coordinated the event. She is deployed here from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and a member of the 407th Air Expeditionary Group First Four organization who took on the task of planning and coordinating the visit by the Iraqi families.

With orphaned children from Ur making up most of the visiting group, the First Four organization decided to donate items for the children. Items such as stuffed animals, toys, soccer balls, school supplies and candy were collected, and after down from the Ziggurat the children were led to a tent filled with the donations. Each child was able to come away with a few items.

"Events like this improve relations between us and the Iraqi people," said Staff Sgt. Tracey Cowan, a 407th AEG information manager deployed here from Moody AFB, Ga.

Afterward, an impromptu game of soccer was started with teams mixed with American servicemembers and Iraqi children.

"The initial idea came from an Iraqi contractor who works on the installation," said Senior Master Sgt. Gary Hillman, the 407 Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. "He contacted security forces to see if a visit would be possible. He said he receives a lot of questions from the kids in the city about the American troops and thought it would be great if they could see and interact with them."

To cool off from the heat, the visit ended with a water fight as Iraqi children doused their American hosts, and then it quickly turned into a battle -- a different kind of battle than the one being fought throughout the country, as this was a friendly battle between new friends.

Photo - Airmen, Soldiers and local Iraqi citizens play soccer during an Aug. 21 visit by 80 Iraqi citizens to the historical Ziggurat located on Ali Air Base, Iraq. The Ali AB First Four Council sponsored the visit. This is the first time in more than 10 years that Iraqi civilians have been allowed to step on the grounds of the historical site, which was built in the ancient city of Ur and includes the house of the biblical prophet Abraham. U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca.

Source: USAF.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis
I enjoyed this one so much that I would like to share it with my friends over at Linkfest. Others may participate in this open trackback, but you would have much more fun if you hooked up with Linkfest. :)

These are the posts I have trackbacked to: Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Big Dog's Weblog, Outside the Beltway, The Pink Flamingo, MacBros Place, Walls of the City, Nuke's News & Views, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Nanotechnology Today, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

These are the people who trackbacked to this post:
1. Planck's Constant: When Castro Dies comes the real revolution.
2. The Florida Masochist: The Knuckleheads of the Day award.
3. Webloggin: Confirmed: Gonzales Has Resigned as Attorney General.
4. The Florida Masochist: Another job to fill.
5. Right Truth: What's going on in this crazy world?
6. The Virtuous Republic: Interesting Story about an Armenian Enclave in Azerbaijan. Digg! Digg!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful of others, so they may be respectful to you. Have a blessed day.