Happy Easter!
My wife and I are excited, because today is the last major public holiday I’ll miss. As we started this endeavor 13 months ago, we broke the time into milestones. Some have always been important to our family because of holiday rituals, such as a neighborhood parade and cookout on July 4th, or a regular gathering with kids and parents after trick-or-treating on Halloween. Other are more obvious because of their place in the public psyche, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. At the end of this, I will have missed lots of holidays, one anniversary, and everyone’s birthday twice in my immediate family (including my own). Fortunately it’s almost over, and we can’t wait to get our life back to normal shortly after the end of the school year. We have planned to have some time for me to reintegrate with the family, and realize there will be some new routines that we’ll all have to get used to. The kids are looking forward to me coming home, but won’t trust for awhile that I’m home for good. And then I’ll have to restart my business.

My team of U.S. Soldiers is beginning to disband. The lady who’s been in charge of my office for U.S. issues is flying home, hopefully in time to see her son who’s heading to Iraq. She’s also returning to plan a wedding to a fellow Soldier she met here, just one of the many positive things that have happened during this deployment. There are a few more Soldiers leaving before I do, but the Navy contingent is almost next in line, and we’re trying hard to tie up loose ends.

My main celebration of Easter was actually on Good Friday. Since Friday is normally our day off, we had an Army chaplain meet a group of us on top of the Ghar (a 1,500 foot mountain nearby), where we held our service. The turnout was great with 40 people participating, and the chaplain’s assistant jokingly complained that he can only get 4 people in a service at 1:30 in the afternoon in the chapel, and here at 6:30 in the morning on top of a mountain, we had 40 show up. But, location is everything and the service was powerful. Sadly, there was no wine, just grape juice. The first photo is Chaplain Werner during the service. The second is a friend an me near the peak.

Hope all is well at home, and I hope your Easter has been enjoyable and reflective. I look forward to being there soon.

If you’ve missed updates you’d like to read, surf to www.jonsingleton.com to read them, see the pictures and to post comments. Feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested. If an email of your’s is kicked back by my SPAM filter, just resend with the word “ADD” in the subject line, and I’ll receive it. Raise a cup of Starbuck’s for me, and I’ll hurry home
<strong>Another private journal entry:</strong>

16 APR 07: It’s been a strange day. The convoy was dicey, and I’m not sure why. Part of the problem was with the radios and equipment. As we rolled outside the gate, we got split up by another SECFOR convoy, which meant the two British trucks couldn’t really see us. Visibility was poor, because of a dust storm, and they were following us because they didn’t know the way to MOD. Traffic was terrible, and I spent most of the time carefully scanning the road and rooftops, with my hand on my rifle ready to jump out shooting. It was one of the few times I haven’t been wondering if we’d be attacked, just when. Strange feeling, but something in my experiences over the past eleven months told me things weren’t right. We actually made it to our meeting safely, and made it back without incident. We did have one man run out in front of the HUMVEE causing us to skid ten feet before stopping short of hitting him. We were sure he was going to detonate a suicide vest and destroy the front of our vehicle. But he didn’t. It was just a tense day. Ten Afghan policemen were blown up just north of us. Maybe we appeared ready for action, and they chose a different target. I’m just glad to have made it home to my camp. I wonder if I’m just on edge because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I really want to make it home in one piece. But, my weapons are clean and ready to use. I can’t let my guard down this close to the end. It’s almost 10pm now, and I’m really looking forward to a quiet night. We watched a movie outside and smoked cigars, and are now praying we won’t have a rocket attack. Just life in the war zone.