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U.S. fireworks (Kathleen Kenna photo)

Thanks to Americans for saving my life.

On Independence Day, thanks to the American soldiers who risked their lives to save mine.

Thanks to the crew of the U.S. Mud Puppy.

Thanks, especially, to Col. Mike Wright for his healing hands of prayer.

Thanks to those who braved al Qaeda fire, in the desert cold at night, to rescue  me and Hadi.

Thanks, especially, to the unknown medics who tramped through the sand in bitter cold to get my stretcher to safety. 

Thanks to every trauma surgeon, nurse and other military medical specialist who gave me blood, removed the shrapnel, and patched me up in a tent hospital.

And thanks to every American soldier who saved my life by donating that blood.

Thanks to every nurse, every soldier, every helper who sacrificed to get me home safely from the war zone.

Thanks to all the American soldiers in several countries who comforted Hadi while I was near-death, who brought him food and clothes and found him places to sleep.

Thanks for keeping us safe, and giving us hope.

Thanks to every American whose kindness touched us, then.

And thanks to Americans for opening your home to me, afterward.

On Independence Day, I am thinking that we don’t thank Americans enough for our independence.