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September 11th, 2008
06:50 PM ET

"We are doing the best we can to prevent anything like that from happening ever again"

Editor's Note:
We are devoting many posts today to the anniversary of 9/11, with first-hand accounts, insight, and commentary dedicated to that day seven years ago that changed our world.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/11/art.911iraq.jpg caption="U.S. Army soldiers salute three American flags, representing the three sites of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, at a ceremony to mark the seventh anniversary at Camp Liberty in Baghdad."]
Arwa Damon | BIO
CNN International Correspondent

“Hot, its always hot...” the soldier responded, the collar of his flak jacket soaked in fresh sweat, mixed with that of months of patrolling. We’d only been out an hour, already drenched in sweat, and we’re only carrying about a third of the weight that the soldiers are. Two hours after they return to their base in downtown Baquba, they are out again, flak jackets still wet from the previous patrol. They live on a combat outpost. Sleep whenever they can, work out at the gym. There’s no TV and very little escape from combat. For these soldiers the routine of 9/11 will be like any other day.

We were just embedded with the 2nd SCR in Baquba, and among other stories we’re covering, we were also talking to young troops about 9/11.

Part of me forgot just how young some of the soldiers fighting out here are, with all their gear on they seem much older than their years. The ones we were talking to were barely in their teens when 9/11 happened, too young to realize the global impact that day would have and how it would forever alter their lives.

“I was in the 8th grade I think. Art class. I didn’t know what was going on, they just sent us home,” one of them told us.

And now seven years on, they know it. For some it prompted them to join the military. For all, it shaped their military career. They are in Iraq fighting America’s so-called “war on terror”, though many not really aware that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

The guys are exhausted. You see it in their eyes, in the way that they move, in their speech that seems to be in slow motion. They’ve been here for 13 months now and its taking its toll. They joke about the next deployment being Afghanistan.

And in the words of one New Yorker, they want America to know something on 9/11.

“Just know that we are doing the best we can to prevent anything like that from happening ever again.”

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. TIM HARTWELL

    As a soldier of 14 years I am appalled that the people commenting speak the way they do of our soldiers, country and their leaders. (If you are not happy move to another country, and oh, by the way most have less freedoms and issues of their own. Call me, I will come help you pack.) Does anyone think the President made the decision for going into Iraq? And it was solely for revenge and oil?? Or comparing our Government to Nazi's and referring to soldiers as "Stupid Pawns".....it bitters me to think that I protect free speech and other freedoms for those who choose such ill words and harbor such ill feelings. But I am also aware that most who post comments as such have never served, been there, or understand the things we do and how we do them. Remember Freedom is never free, never was, and never will be. But I am sure most would rather see us fight terrorists and others in the good ole USA than in Iraq, or Afghanistan. I would rather die serving my country than live a coward behinds posts and blogs.

    September 11, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  2. Melissa

    God's blessing and protection on our troops, wherever they are in harm's way.

    September 11, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  3. Linda

    How truly sad and tragic to know that these soldiers not only know little of 9/11, but are fighting in a war that has nothing to do with 9/11 except for President and his advisors seeking revenge and oil.

    September 11, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  4. rebekah boyer

    Isn't that sad. Some poor kid who's been given few options in life, going to destroy some other poor kid in Iraq who's got even fewer. I wonder how he'd feel about fighting wars of occupation for the banking industry if he knew what Henry Kissinger said about him.
    That soldiers are simply" stupid pawns to be used in these wars of occupation...."
    You have much more in common, young, beautiful soldier, with the people you are sent to disfigure, than with the investment class who sent you there,all justified by these false- flag operation.s.
    "It is not hard to lead the people into war," said a high ranking Nazi during the Nureumberg trials," whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship. Voice, or no voice, you simply tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for leading the country into greater danger..." The Nazi's had their false- flag operation to "lead them into war". Homeland Security is a Nazi phrase... what we are seeing now is a rehash of an old New World Order agenda.

    September 11, 2008 at 7:32 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    And we are eternally grateful to these soldiers for what they are doing to protect our lives and our freedoms! This morning I thought of my friend Mike who died as a result of injuries sustained in Iraq. I thought of my cousin who was in Kuwait with his EOD unit at the time and has since served two tours in Iraq. I've thought of my other friends who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the things I remember most from that day is my cousin saying that the military would react to these attacks, that they would not go unnoticed. They didn't know how or why, but they knew they would. Seven years later they still are, we are in debt to them for what they do, and no one has the right to question whether or not what they do is worth the money or the lives lost or any of the billion other excuses I've heard that denigrate our military and question our right to protect our nation. Our military rocks, and everyone should be proud of what those men and women do every day of their lives for us.

    September 11, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  6. Cindy

    The soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan should be commended for what they are doing and also for what they are giving up to fight these wars. And on today of all days people should realize that regardless of how they feel about the wars that we need to back these men and women any way we can.

    The only thing that bothers me in this post is that Darwa sticks in her "so called war on terror" comment. On today of all days wording like that really isn't needed.

    Cindy...Ga.

    September 11, 2008 at 7:00 pm |