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28 July 2005

E-mail From a Soldier

SPC Victoria Baker

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani shared the following e-mail received from a soldier responding to the impact of the recently-concluded Books for Baghdad project.

Dr. Al-Hamdani,

I recently read about the project "Books for Baghdad" and I wanted to take the time to express to you how wonderful I think this project is. As an American soldier in the United States Army I can assure you that this project, however small it may seem, will have a huge impact on the Iraqi people fortunate enough to benefit from it. It is my unfortunate experience that the majority of the Iraqi people are at best wary of an American presence in their country. However, little by little, through personal endeavors such as "Books for Baghdad," I believe that the Iraqi people will come to realize that we are here to help. I believe that one act of kindness can have a ripple effect of great magnitude. For example, the young man disillusioned by his war torn country and suffering people, contemplating the ideology of various terrorist organizations, will unexpectedly receive the gift of these books. That small act of kindness may help that young man to quell his hostility towards Americans. He might share this with others who in turn may begin to welcome the American presence, instead of scorn it. I believe that every positive encounter the Iraqi people have with Americans is one more step in the direction of turning around a country gone mad. I can only hope that the orphaned child on the streets, the cloaked woman living in oppression and the elderly spending their "golden years" in a living hell, will never forget the kindness of the American soldiers and the generosity of the American people. Their memories can help turn the tide of this war. They have the power to change the Iraqi attitude towards America. It's all I can hope for.

My unit, the 215th BSB, 3rd BDE, 1st Cavalry at Fort Hood, TX returned from a 12 month deployment in Baghdad this past April. They lost 170 soldiers while they were there. We are scheduled to return to Iraq next April. If we do return to Baghdad, I will visit those education centers that received the packages. I will be proud to represent the United States Army, as a former JSU student, Jacksonville High School graduate class of 2001, and a native of Jacksonville.

As a side note, I ask you to please remember the soldiers currently serving in the Middle East. There is not much to do while deployed and I believe soldiers could also benefit from any discarded textbooks or books of a recreational nature.

Again, many thanks and best of luck in any future endeavors!


SPC Victoria Baker (nee Oxley)

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