Thursday, October 21, 2004

Coming Home From Iraq For Wedding Saves Lynnwood Man

Chris Purdy of Lynnwood is a former U.S. Marine who is now a private bodyguard for U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey in Iraq.
Purdy was having coffee with his father while home on leave when the call came saying that some of his co-workers had died Thursday in the first successful attack inside Baghdad's highly protected "Green Zone."
For Purdy, the loss of friends came with the realization that he would likely have been with them if he hadn't returned home for a wedding.
"Al-Qaida was always something we heard and knew about, but now it's personal," Purdy said.
Iraq's most-feared terror group, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
"These insurgents are cowards, killing innocent civilians who are shopping or having coffee," he said.
Chris Purdy said he's not a real "politics guy" but knows how he feels about the Nov. 2 presidential election.
"Bush has always been strong in his stance. Just about everyone there supports Bush, and so do I," he said.
His feelings about the way the war is being portrayed is the reason why Purdy decided to go return to Iraq after an honorable discharge in 2003.
"I couldn't stand what people were saying here about what was going on over there. I knew in my heart what was going on. I was there, they didn't know."
Purdy said things have improved since June when he arrived in Baghdad, and after Iraqis were granted sovereignty, a ceremony he attended.
"The American people don't see it, but the country is headed in the right direction," he said, adding that he blames the media for spinning the news that way.
Purdy said his focus and mission are clear as he prepares to return to a place so different than when he left it just a week ago.
"We don't worry about ourselves, just the mission and taking care of each other so we can come home to our families again," Purdy said.