Iraq War Roses

War Roses In Iraq

While I was working in Mosul Iraq in 2006, I had the opportunity to travel from my Forward Operating Base (FOB), FOB Marez, to FOB Courage which was situated inside the city of Mosul.  This was an opportunity for me, a “FOBIT” (rhymes with “Hobbit”), to get “outside the wire” and see something new.  Outside the wire is a term when you leave the safety of a military installation and now are exposed to hostile contact.  The only means of transportation was via Stryker vehicle because during this time insurgent activity was high in Mosul and it was pretty dangerous to travel.  To me the risk was worth it because being cooped up on the same FOB gets quite tedious; almost prison-like.  We mounted up and made it safely along the way until we were stopped just outside of FOB Courage.  They had just had a mortar attack inside the FOB.

We finally got inside and wandered around in this new piece of real estate which was surrounded as usual with barriers, razor wire, and heavy security.  Neighborhoods were visible over the wall which was a treat if you can believe something like that can have such an affect on someone.  It was still worth it because all of these new sights was refreshing and new.  Inside the FOB there were rose bushes growing in manicured gardens that had been created during Saddams regime.  It was very surreal seeing these beautiful flowers thriving amongst the dust and multitude military vehicles.  Despite the war, the ‘war roses’ continued to bloom.

This particular rose caught my eye.  It was the most beautiful rose I believe I have ever seen.  This is the actual picture and has not been touched up in anyway.

Rose Blossom Mosul Iraq

The Perfect Rose Blossom

When I look at this picture I remember that day I saw it and it still amazes me that through all the military movement on the FOB and the mortar and rocket attacks on FOB Courage it continued to thrive; so beautiful, so perfect.

In another part of the FOB I saw yet again another unyielding war rose.  All I could think of was how funny it was that nature goes on despite the war going on around it.  It was like the roses were saying no matter what you do, I will survive.

White Rose Amongst The Sand Bags

A White Rose Climbing Out Of The Sandbags

This particular rose seemed to say I will find light and I will bloom no matter what.  It had found its way to the warm sunlight, climbing and pushing its way through the stack of sandbags and like the other rose was able to survive and bloom amid the chaos of the war machine.

War roses beautified portions of the Iraq battlefield; standing so stark against the drab backdrop of war that you just had to pause as you were walking by, stop, and savor its beauty.


About VacationWanderer

I have 'wandered' pretty much around the world but still have a lot to see and experience. My favorite things to do in life are travel, photography, and learning new languages or foreign language phrases to use along the way. "Hello", "Thank You", and "Please" in any language will open many doors for you. :-) I love to share my travel experiences with people and hope to inspire those who are still just thinking about it.

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