Independent journalist Michael Yon sends this amazing image with an even more amazing message behind it:
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 Cavalry 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. (Videotape to follow.)
Most of the images of Iraq that we see are images of death and destruction, of a nation that is fractured and divided. Those images fail to tell the whole story about Iraq, and it’s sad that so few are telling the stories of heroism and bravery coming from both Iraqi and American alike over there. Images like this are important because they show a side of Iraq that we rarely ever see. They tell a story that rarely gets told and is as important to this conflict as the usually stories about car bombings and murders.
We can’t know how Iraq will turn out when all of this is over—but images like this are a small but important sign of hope.