Last night a priest of the Diocese of Lexington, KY and I joined Jeff and Linda Talley for dinner at one of our favorite nearby Italian restaurants. Jeff is a professor in the School of Engineering at Notre Dame and is also a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserves.
I first got to know Jeff when he was hired by ND and lived at Moreau Seminary. I think he was in the chapel more than some of the other residents! He's been in Baghdad since this Spring and is in charge of Sadr City, the neighborhood of Baghdad that was so notorious not even Iraqi army or police would go into it. His main task is twofold: find and destroy IEDs and rebuild the city's infrastructure. His stories and stats are quite impressive. In short, real progress is being made. I noticed a NYTimes article on this very point.
Linda is a real joy whose smile certainly brightened my week. She loves Rome, is glad to have visited her daughter here, and join her husband during his rare chance to travel, but she will be glad to be back in good ole U.S.A. I know something of how she feels.
The evening reminded me of the importance of praying for the safety of both our troops and the people of Iraq.