Many are taking time for Veterans Day to reflect on our men and women serving our country. One soldier reminds us that achieving peace means understanding that there are good people who live in war-torn countries.
Members of the National Guard speak out on their mission in the Middle East at the Capitol. Staff Sergeant Justin Copley says as a teacher, he’s also a life-long learner. When he arrived in Salahudin, he decided to step out of his comfort zone, be receptive to the Iraqi people and learn their language.
Copley says to build an alliance with the Iraqis, it’s going to take a lot of understanding … and a lot of time.
Copley says although his father was killed in the same region he himself recently served in, communicating with the locals creates mutual respect, and stepping out of one’s comfort zone and making connections is a life-changing experience.
General David Patraeus told Missouri guardsmen to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, he says, but that goes both ways … that they’re trying to win our hearts and minds too.
Copley says it’s true that many Iraqis hate Americans, but just as many of them are desperate to have a relationship with America that will result in positive change for their country.
What he learned is that not all Iraqis hate Americans, and those that do are changing their minds because of the guard reaching out to them.
He says he’s well aware that trusting the enemy isn’t easy since his father was killed in the same region a few years ago, but if all soldiers step outside of their comfort zone and learn to be receptive, alliances can begin to work.