This is supposed to be a general interest blog, not a self-indulgent one about my family. But I was so moved by this picture, which someone else had evidently posted on Johnny's Facebook page, that I can't not post it.
The John Craig described in the title of this post is on the right.
(Click on the picture to see an enlarged version)
I can't help but feel proud. Johnny's sense of humor is evident: he is smiling as his friend seems to be teasing the Afghan children a bit before handing over whatever it is (chocolate? money?) he intends to give them. Johnny's bravery -- and the bravery of every soldier who signs up for a combat role -- goes without saying.
But as proud as I am, it is impossible to view this photo without trepidation. How easy it would be for a Taliban gunman to come bursting out of one of those doorways, or snipe at them from behind one of those walls. How easy it would be for a suicide bomber to walk up to them in the midst of all that good will.
Johnny looks happy in the photo. I just hope he keeps his guard up. And that the gods smile on him. Because no matter how careful you are, there's always a lot of luck -- good and bad -- involved in war.
All I want is for him to be able to look at that picture when he's my age and feel as proud as I do.