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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Letter from Iraq

In the inbox: I received this email this morning from Iraq:
Matt: I have mixed emotions about stumbling upon your blog on Albany. Sad it took me so long to find it, but glad to see it exists and that individual "Albany-boosters" put forth the effort to celebrate their home. I spent the first twenty one years of my life living in the Helderbergs over looking Albany and loving the local culture and history. Now, after six months at fort drum and after spending the last year in Iraq, I am understandably anxious to return home to Albany with my national guard unit and begin enjoying the pleasures of a less Spartan lifestyle. I brought a number of Albany related books by Bill Kennedy, had my cousin with a photography interest send me pictures of the area, and kept up best I could with the Times Union and Metroland. Now only two or so weeks away from my return, reading through your blog has made me even more enthusiastic about returning home and restarting my life after a year and a half interruption. Thanks for the effort, and keep up the good work.

-Jeremy Rue
Forward Operating Base Danger
Tikrit, Iraq
The pleasure is all mine. Jeremy - you should know that I speak for the vast majority of people in Albany when I say that I sincerely appreciate your efforts in Iraq and your service to our country more generally. The email sent a chill down my spine when I first read it. It is surreal and very humbling for me to think Oh, SmAlbany! is, in some small way, making a soldier in Iraq feel closer to home.

And the converse is true as well. A letter like this really makes me feel connected to a war that is relatively easy for many of us to be detached from. I don't personally know anyone who is in Iraq, and it's therefore easy for me to sometimes let a day pass without even thinking about it. Thank you, Jeremy, for at least momentarily reprimanding my selfishness. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Best of luck in finishing your assignment, soldier. Albany awaits your safe return.
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