November 10, 2003--Posted at 7:45 p.m.
This was Army Specialist Mangrum's first Veteran's Day in uniform and he said, "It gives me a sense of pride knowing that Americans still support us and the few that don't don't understand probably never will."
Mangrum is in the Army's 864th Engineers Battalion, a rapid runway repair detail in Balad, Iraq. He' home for two weeks, for the first time in two years. "If this is a dream don't wake me up, let me sleep," said Mangrum.
That's because Mangrum knows the reality of war, watching a soldier shoot a little girl hiding a half dozen grenades. "Anyone that would be low down dirty enough to use women and children, it makes me sick, honestly it makes me sick," said Mangrum.
He said never really knowing where that "sick" enemy is, he knows death could come at any moment. "It's always there, it's always in the back of your mind, but you just push on to your mission, and wait for that call that you're going home."