Ali Abu Nebid, the Saydiyah Support Council Chairman, rides a merry-go-round with children after the opening of a playground on June 23 in the Saydiyah neighborhood of Baghdad's Rashid District. "I think the children will really enjoy this, and I am honored to be here at the official opening," said Maj. Peter Sicoli, the executive officer for the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, attached to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad. Photo by Capt. Mark Miller.
— As daylights last remaining hours set over the horizon, and the summertime heat of Baghdad’s Rashid District lost the spike of its intensity; a crowd could be seen forming even from a distance.
It was a special day for the gathering of citizens and children from Saydiyah, a community located in the southern part of the Iraqi capital, as they gathered for the long-awaited official opening of a new playground in their neighborhood.
“I think the children will really enjoy this, and I am honored to be here at the official opening,” said Maj. Peter Sicoli, the executive officer for the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, attached to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.
The Saydiyah Support Council Chairman, Ali Abu Nebid, alongside others in attendance cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the playground.
While the children played on the newest addition to their community, Nebid made it a point to thank Coalition forces.
“The people appreciate you being here, and I appreciate all the help from the Americans,” Nebid stated. “Not only with the logistics of helping to build this park, but for their assistance with the Iraqi security forces to make this area safe enough for a park.”
While many played on the swings and teeter-totter, Nebid hopped on the merry-go-round with a group of playful children.
Capt. Drew Betson, the commander of Company A, 4th Bn., 64th Armor Regt., is responsible for the Saydiyah area and has worked with the local support council as well as ISF to turn the playground idea into a reality.
“These kids are great,” said Betson, as a crowd of children surrounded him speaking familiar English phrases. “They deserve a place like this to enjoy just being kids.”
The families enjoyed the cooling effects of the covered benches while watching their children play.
This is not the first improvement that has occurred in recent months in Saydiyah. The 4th Bn., 64th Armor Regt., “Tuskers” Battalion, working in conjunction with Nebid and their ISF counterparts, have recently provided generated power for Saydiyah’s Tejara Street and opened a swimming pool. More projects are tentatively scheduled to open in the future.