Thanks and Praise: I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.
A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from “Chosen” Company 2-12 Infantry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.
The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ”Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.
This is not a historic occasion. For us here in the safety of the United States, this act would mean nothing.
But in Iraq, this picture -- and its story -- speak volumes. It is an image of hope and faith, togetherness and brotherhood, and how these things are possible in even the worst of places.
As Michelle points out,
Yes, Christian persecution remains rampant in the Muslim world and apostasy is still punishable by death. But there are glimmers of good news, and they won’t be broadcast on the nightly news or the front page of the NYTimes. Thanks to the lens of Michael Yon, we can see a fuller, truer picture of Iraq than the “grim milestone”-driven legacy media lens allows us to see. That deserves thanks and praise, too.
Thanks to our troops putting their lives on the line not only for our safety, but for theirs -- and thanks to the Iraqi people risking their lives as well to make Iraq a safer, better place. I think we often forget the risks that they take when they work alongside our men and women.
And I think this picture shows that there is hope in Iraq, and the Middle East -- and to give up now would be to dishonor the sacrifice that Americans and Iraqis, alike, are making.
We have made progress. And we will succeed.