Skip to comments.Americans, Iraqis interact at historical monument
Posted on 08/23/2007 6:56:30 PM PDT by SandRat
8/23/2007 - 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.
Senior Airman Ashley-Louise Jacobsen hugs a young Iraqi girl goodbye at the end of an Aug. 21 visit by 80 Iraqi nationals 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. Airman Jacobsen is a member of the 407th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Ali AB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca)
This story and photo speak volumes about our troops and our mission . . . May God continue to bless both!
That’s a beautiful picture. It shows what we’re trying to accomplish there; everyone deserves freedom.
Click the Photo. There’s even more that will pop up to warm your heart.
I’ve still not ever seen a photo of the ziggurat. Guess I’ll have to do an internet search.
More news from the front that escapes the MSM. The US military offers the Iraqis more and more freedoms that were denied them by their own. The PR Officer earned a Bravo Zulu.
Compare and contrast some of the photos. Iraqi bad guys this week pour gasoline on kid and set him afire. American service members pour cool water on Iraqis and make them laugh.
Aint it funny how THIS doesnt make the papers?
Thank you very much for your efforts in helping us stay informed and up to speed.
Just shows you which side of the struggle the papers are on.
You are most welcome. Hope it helps keep your morale up and arms you to do battle with the “Microwave Mentals” you encounter to set the record straight.
OMG SHE'S TORTURING HER WITH THE BEAR HUG!!! WITHDRAW NOW!
or... Child Molestation cries about to go up from the left would work as well.