From 3rd World to Free World
A story born from stubborn positivity.
Fred had every reason to be an asshole.
He was born in a place where people fight for water and children are used as decoys in war.
I came across Fred after four days of intense fighting. Things had calmed down and I began to look around the compound we had commandeered a few days prior. That was when I spotted him.
He was curled up in a little dusty ball in a clump of limp bushes. As I approached, he lifted his head and I saw big black bugs crawling all over him. What I noticed next has left an eternal impression on my soul.
He was wagging his tail.
I stopped, the dust from my boots mixing with the dust around his tail like cigarette smoke between friends. In that moment our trust became iron clad.
Over the following weeks my team and I would see some of the most intense combat of the conflict in Afghanistan. Throughout it all Fred was there. Like a dusty ambassador he patrolled with us, slept with us, and was afraid with us.
One thing was clear to me and my fellow Marines... Fred did not belong in Afghanistan. His innocence represented something worth fighting for and we were going to fight for him.
With some proper scheming and plotting we pulled it off. This summer Fred and I went on the car ride of our dreams. Exploring our great country mile by mile, our agenda determined only by what lay around the next bend.
Seeing Fred in some of our nation's most sacred places swells my heart.
The Ventana Wilderness in Big Sur gave us solitude.
And humbling views.
The Redwoods served to remind us how young we are.
The beaches of Oregon entertained us during the day and sang us to sleep each night.
Crater Lake reminded us that purity still exists on a massive scale.
Bend, OR showed us the versatility of nature.
Portland, OR helped us remember that big cities have their own nature worthy of exploration. Especially when there are restaurants with dog menus.
Moving north to Washington, we found examples of why this region of our country is so alluring.
In Seattle we found a city that honors it's past while facilitating progress.
Heading back east the wide open spaces of our nation's heartland served as the perfect place to reflect on our journey.
Reminding ourselves that it is not what happens to you, but how you react that matters.
Because life is too short to be serious all the time.
But looking back brings honor to our past and ensures the worthiness of our future.
Thank you for looking! There is more to the story and I have begun the process of sharing the events that brought Fred and I together in a book. If you want to keep up with Fred's adventures check us out on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by searching FredTheAfghan. FredTheAfghan@gmail.com