Wrapping Up My Visit to Iraq

[Ed. Note: Read Dr. Biden's post about celebrating Independence Day with troops in Iraq yesterday here]Today I started my day off at a breakfast event with civilian volunteers from the U.S. embassy here in Iraq. Just like our soldiers, these individuals are sacrificing a tremendous amount on behalf of our country. This post is particularly challenging, and we owe them a great deal of gratitude for their service.
Afterwards, I met with about a dozen Iraqi women who teach English here in the greater Baghdad area. We talked about their experiences in the classroom, their students, and their hopes and vision for the future of the Iraqi education system.As a teacher, the best part of my job isn't just teaching people how to read or compose sentences, but building their confidence so they can go on and pursue their dreams. These teachers, through pure grit and determination, are shaping and molding the future leaders of Iraq.They were truly inspirational. I wrapped up my trip with a roundtable discussion with service men and women from the Texas National Guard 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Having a son who served in the National Guard, I felt a little bit like I was reunited with family.

This group is preparing to redeploy back to the United States next month, and we spent some time talking about National Guard family support programs, including the Family Readiness Group and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. Members of the National Guard and Reserve face unique challenges as they balance the demands of their military service with their responsibilities at home. In this era when so much is being asked of our service members, relieving some of the burden of stress can make an incredible difference.What an amazing couple of days it has been for me. I'm glad I could share some of it with you.