It's the last day of our tour and we are in Oceanside, Calif. I am writing my final blog on a Blackberry from a giant, overstuffed couch overlooking the beach (thank you, Barbara Pierce, for booking the hotel).
Today, we were supposed to revisit an interesting family we met at the start of the war. He's a Marine, she's a mom, and when we last saw them their son needed a heart transplant.
Despite that, this Marine headed off to war. He's back, the baby (now an adorable 3-year-old boy) is fine and the family seems to be doing well. But the family, actually the Marine, decided last night he didn't want to do the interview. I imagine he just wants life to get back to "normal" and I can't blame him.
A lot of the people we met on the trip are struggling to get back to normal. For some it's tougher than others.
We met kids who lost parents, mothers who lost sons, 19-year-old soldiers who lost legs — and they are all struggling to move on and trying to get back to normal.
But what we found the past two weeks is that, for most of the country, this war hasn't changed their day-to-day lives at all. Life is normal. No matter what you think about the war, thank a soldier and their family for that.
On that note, thanks to all the amazing people who let us "parachute" into their lives the past few weeks. Your kindness, patience and courage is unbelievable. I hope I did your stories justice.
Thanks to everyone who watched and e-mailed. It's nice to know someone (other than my parents) is paying attention.
Thanks to my amazing crew. You worked tirelessly, brilliantly and made every mile fun. I adore all of you — my posse, my partners in crime, my playmates!
We're all headed back to our corners of the world tomorrow. We'll ditch our smelly vans, return to our families and get back to normal.
I think we're all more thankful for that than ever before.