The road home
Third of three parts: 'To the top'
Editor's note: In our Behind the Scenes series, CNN correspondents share their experiences in covering news around the world.
By Martin Savidge
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (CNN) -- I hope that by the time you read this, I'll be back in the loving arms of my family.
It has been an incredible journey.
I've gone from the man-made canyons of New York and the gaping horror of ground zero to the war-ravaged valleys of Afghanistan. I've cried with victims and stood with soldiers.
And in my work, I've either spoken or written to you all the way.
You may have responded.
One mother ordered her Air Force officer son to find me a shower after she read my "Shower power" story. (Read Savidge on "not a bucket-of-water-heated-over-the-camp-stove kind" of shower.)
Another woman sent me a big bag of M&Ms after I lamented being surrounded by too many "Skittles" that come in the military "MREs," or "meals ready to eat." (Read "'Camp Candy Bar' and thought for food.")
And many readers and viewers, through e-mail, have comforted me with compliments, concern and prayers. Thank you.
This has been a journey of the soul, of the mind and of the heart.
Now I go home to heal, mentally and physically. But I hope to return.
The war in Afghanistan is a long way from being over. Perhaps the war on terror will never end.
I'd like to continue to see my mission through. But that must wait, first I need to savor the comforts of home and family.
I leave you with the motto of the soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, whom I followed into battle in the Lower Shahi Kot valley. Ironically, these are the same words many firefighters, emergency crew personnel and police officers used September 11 in the twisted, crumbling hell of the World Trade Center:
"To the top."
Coming: Some final reflections from Savidge on his experiences of the past two months on assignment in Afghanistan: "Probably the last three weeks have been the real microcosm, the buildup to Operation Anaconda, being embedded, as a journalist, with forces ..."
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