Counting Votes

By  | 

The members of the Army National Guard's Third Battalion, 124th Infantry out of Panama City understand Iraq a little more than others.

Sgt. Brian Gray of Lynn Haven says he remembers his time spent in Baghdad.

"He had like 73 palaces and I kept thinking that's a lot of money to be spent on himself. And the people, even if they had work, $5 a day is good money for them."

Gray kept pictures and memorabilia of his time spent in Baghdad, but he says there are some things you don't forget.

"Well, a couple times when mortar rounds were coming into the compound, that thing kind of sticks with you for a little while when you're on the receiving end of it."

The local children also stay in his thoughts. He says they had no fear of the soldiers who were visiting their country.

"The kids were really, and most of the people that were in our zone, we were on the east side of the Tigris River. They were really glad we were there. They didn't want us to leave. They loved Americans. We helped them rebuild a soccer stadium. There was a community center right across from our compound, we helped them rebuild that."

Gray says they knew elections would make their way to the embattled country, but small steps are good too and they occur without the publicity.