Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Winning the War One Smile At A Time

On April 29, airmen flew 110 Iraqi children and 97 of their parents, guardians and escorts from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad in support of "Operation Smile."

Operation Smile, an international nongovernmental organization, provides corrective surgery for children with cleft palates and cleft lips, congenital birth defects that affect about one out of every 600 children, according to the Cleft Palate Foundation. Operation Smile had evaluated the Iraqi children and transported them to Amman for corrective surgery. [snip]

The passengers recited a brief prayer as the plane began to taxi. "We're asking God for safe passage to Iraq," one of the parents explained.

The prayer was repeated several times with increasing urgency and volume as the plane accelerated down the runway and lifted off. One Iraqi woman quietly fingered her prayer beads and hugged her daughter tightly as the plane began its rapid ascent. [snip]

As the plane landed, taxied and came to a halt at Baghdad International Airport's passenger terminal, the faces of the Iraqi children and their parents explained very clearly what Operation Smile is all about.

DefenseLINK News: Air Force Helps Bring Smiles to Iraqi Children

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