I landed in Kabul August of 2003. My first trip to Vegas was about July/August of 2006.When I was flying into vegas, the surroundings reminded me of the mountains surrounding kabul. The only difference was that when we landed in Kabul, everyone was grabbing theirmagazines and locking and loading. We were warned to not step off the tarmac. Both citieswere, and are, much more crowded than what I had been used to in North Carolina.When I went for a morning run in vegas, the smell of human waste and trash was strikingly more similar to Kabul, although not nearly as bad as the smell of Bagram. I cherish my memories of Afghanistan — even the disgusting smells of the country side — but then I havethe ruler of even more disgusting smells within other areas of Bagram.When I was in Afghanistan, the people I met reinforced my belief that we were doing the right thing. The schools which were, and are, being built – the infrastructure which is slowly being developed — steps towards a more productive and stable country — were supported, from those I met, with much welcome. In some cases, songs of praise — suchas a patrol I was on in October of 2003 near Ghazni… a UN supported (yes they are goodfor some things) school took about an hour to talk with those of us on a PRT mission nearGhazni and sang us a song of appreciation… Got the thing on tape.. We knew we were doing the right thing — today, that area is one of the hottest areas of the region…It started getting cold… the winds here in Vegas remind me of the winds wehad started feeling over there… People over here just don’t get how much freedom we have; they do not understand the natureof the enemy which wishes to destroy those freedoms. About the only thing that reminds methat Vegas is -not- Afghanistan is the amount of skin our women display. Thank God forAmerican women and American Freedoms.I’m rambling. Basically, I miss serving in Afghanistan. I’m damn thankful for protectingour way of life; and I wish that people would not only be grateful for, but recognize, theamount of freedom and choice we have in our society, and most eespecially recognize theextent to which our enemy will go to deny humanity those freedoms.