Skip to comments.Iraqis Pay Tribute to U.S. Service Members
Posted on 05/27/2004 12:54:58 PM PDT by saquin
ARLINGTON, Va., May 27, 2004 As the sound of "Taps" wailed from Army Sgt. Major Henry Sgrecci's bugle today, seven Iraqi citizens pressed their new prosthetic hands against their hearts at the Tomb of the Unknowns here to honor U.S. service members who have given their lives in Iraq.
The seven men, all Iraqi merchants, have been in the United States since mid- April to receive their new "bionic" hands to replace the ones amputated by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as punishment for trading in U.S. currency. In addition to providing them with new $50,000 prosthetic hands, U.S. doctors in Houston also removed the tattoos Saddam had imprinted on the merchants' foreheads to draw further attention to their misdeeds.
During this week's visit to Washington, D.C., the Iraqis made a pilgrimage today to Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for 65 service members killed in Iraq. There, the group laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor U.S. service members killed while overthrowing the brutal regime under which they and millions of other Iraqis had suffered for decades.
Nasaar Jondi, one of the merchants, reflected on his predicament nine years ago, as he sat in prison waiting for Saddam's doctors to chop off his right hand. The night before his sentence was carried out, Jondi wrote his wife, "Do not be sad. Hopefully Allah will replace my hand with an even better one." Today, as the proud recipient of a new prosthetic hand made possible through donations by U.S. medical facilities, medical staff, companies and citizens, Jondi reflected on his new fortune personally and as an Iraqi citizen -- and the cost that made it possible.
"Without the tremendous sacrifices of American servicemen and women, we would never have had a new beginning and a new Iraq," he said.
Like nearly all Iraqis, Laith Agar had seen unforgettable suffering and death under Saddam which he said gives him a greater appreciation for life and an appreciation for those willing to lay theirs down for others.
"Life is the most precious thing for a human being, and these people have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Agar, a resident of Baghdad. "They came to Iraq and died for Iraq and for all humanity. We will never forget the contributions these heroes have made."
Basin Al Fadhly said he wanted to visit Arlington National Cemetery to pay tribute to America's fallen warriors "and to express gratitude to the American people and the American Army that carried out the liberation of Iraq from Saddam."
For Hassan Al Gearawy, the visit to Arlington was a way to express his appreciation to the families particularly the mothers of U.S. service members killed in his country's liberation. "I wanted to salute them and express my thanks and gratitude to the mothers of those martyrs," he said.
Earlier this week, the group visited the White House, where President Bush told them he was "honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."
The president praised Dr. Joseph Agris, a plastic surgeon based in Houston, who conducted the surgery to put new prosthetic hands on the Iraqis, and Don North, a documentary producer who brought the plight of the seven merchants to Agris's attention.
"These men had hands restored because of the generosity and love of an American citizen," Bush said. "And I am so proud to welcome them to the Oval Office."
Army Spc. Patrick Moran, an "Old Guard" soldier from the 3rd U.S. Infantry, helps members of the Iraqi delegation lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on May 27 to honor U.S. service members killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Proudly displaying their new prosthetic hands that replace those amputated by Saddam Hussein are, from left, Laith Agar, Hassan Al Gearawy, Qasim Kadhim, Salah Zinad, Basim Al Fadhly, Nazaar Jondi, and Alaa Hassan.
A bump and a bookmark.
This isn't getting much coverage on PMSNBCBSABCCNN.
One wonders what they thought of lush, verdant Virgina in the Spring. Must seem like another world to them.
It also makes me so angry that the jerks at the alphabet new won't report this news for the world to see. They are nothing short of pond scum.
OMG, I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful story.
I loved this line: "Hopefully Allah will replace my hand with an even better one."
Little by little, with progress like this, perhaps people in the Middle East will realize that God does not want people to kill each other in His name.
Saquin gets the credit because he posted it; I was only the first person to respond.
Oops! Sorry for the boo boo.
No, you're kidding me. Surely it led.
What an amazing story! THIS is the kind of thing that could change the hearts and minds of Muslims. Let's hope they spread the word when they get back to Iraq! God Bless those who gave their lives for America. I'm so proud to live in the greatest nation in the world.
I'm sure that they're just waiting until they can meet them in person, putting a face to the story because they care so much about the Iraqi people and the advancement of freedom.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
Finally an encouraging story! Thank you for posting this. A good for the kids tonight.
I will be sharing this story and the pictures with all three of my history classes tomorrow...
Thank you for the beautiful story, saquin. This thread is now an official Prayer Warrior Field Trip destination.
For those who may wish to join other FReepers in supporting our troops and their loved ones spiritually, feel welcome and invited to come to the Troop Prayer Threads.
Awesome pictures, they say it all!
great post bump..... once agian A fine example of why the fight is worth it. now if you'll excuse me I need to find a tissue. :)