A Taste of Home

Yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured a touching article about one Iraq veteran's struggle since redeployment -- and how the taste of hamburgers from Ann's Snack Bar in Atlanta have helped him to feel that he's really home. The story reminded me how much I missed certain flavors while in Iraq -- Versailles garlic chicken, In-n-Out double-doubles, and Anchor Steam to name a few -- and how those tastes helped me readjust when I came back. According to the AJC:

Home started to feel more familiar Wednesday, when [Staff Sgt. Morris Franklin] could taste it.

It wasn't just the towering mound of American protein that almost required his Army logistical skills to finish off.

Home is the men who dug into huge burgers with him. These local Vietnam veterans had supported him during his tour in Iraq.

They had been strangers, connected through their shared service in separate wars. They had sent Franklin snacks from home -- pork rinds, pecans, hot sauce -- that reflected their memories of combat.

They finally met Wednesday, at the grail of ground beef -- Ann's Snack Bar, home of the Ghetto Burger, in east Atlanta.

"This lunch was a long time coming," Franklin said as he shook hands with Jerry Newsom of Hoschton, Robert Jones of Atlanta and Jerry Colley of Lilburn.

"How's the adjustment?" Jones asked.

"I think I feel more at home there than here," Franklin said. "That's a little odd."

By Phillip Carter |  April 18, 2008; 9:58 AM ET  | Category:  Veterans
Previous: Planning to Fail in Iraq | Next: The Long-Term Costs of War

Comments

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It's all about the no. 6 at Versailles.

Posted by: Armen | April 18, 2008 10:41 AM

Sorry about this, Phil C, but I received an email today from a nonprofit organization which you help administer as a board member, IAVA.

It came from Paul Rieckhoff and it invited me to a conference call, as such:

"Join a free, live conference call at 9pm EST / 6pm PST with me, Charlie Wilson and Nathaniel Fick, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and is the best-selling author of "One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer"."

Could you please inform your executive director that Charlie Wilson likely will be unavailable for the session.

He died in 1997.

Posted by: Off topic | April 18, 2008 12:51 PM

Off topic,

Uh, Charlie Wilson is still alive. He RETIRED in 1997, though for some I can see how that is equivalent to death.

Posted by: Andy | April 18, 2008 12:56 PM

No, Charlie Wilson is still alive. He left the Congress in 1997. That might be death in DC, but it's not death in Texas.

Posted by: Carl Prine | April 18, 2008 12:58 PM

I know how he feels. When I got back after the relatively benign first Gulf War I found everything about the U.S. to border on the superficial. I missed the desert, my comrades in arms, tent life, and strangely enough the culture I had been so briefly exposed to.

We all go through it, but eventually we become Americanized again (meaning all too often consumed by consumption).

Posted by: Robert59 | April 18, 2008 3:10 PM

I don't know. When I got back from Vietnam, I had this strange longing for C's and nuoc mam. And beer with formaldehyde.

Actually, I recall just being starving all of the time and ingesting massive quantities of beef and cold--cold!--beer. A good burger or steak was to die for. Didn't eat chicken or fish for a long time, though. I'm not a farm boy, but I learned how to pluck chickens. I decided to leave that to the farm boys from then on.

Robert found the U.S. to be superficial. Well, yeah, but isn't that the national credo? After some time abroad in one of the garden spots I've seen, I'd be more inclined to say, "surreal." It makes sense: if one's existed for some time on a totally surreal plane, then, upon rapid entry, ho-hum normality feels surreal.

Posted by: Publius | April 18, 2008 6:52 PM

Hmmmm, In and Out Burger!!! Phil, that hurts. I'm on month 6 out of 15 here in beautiful Mosul, now I'll be thinking a double-double "animal style" for the next 9 months.

Posted by: JohnnyO | April 19, 2008 8:54 AM

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