In an ironic twist, now that Burch is back in the state he grew up in, his parents, enchanted by Israel on their many visits to see their son, now live there full-time. In a way, Burch muses, it's the closing of a circle that opened decades ago -- when a teenager in search of an identity first asked his mother what exactly it meant to be Jewish.
In May 2016, my family and I sat in a small theater across the street from The University of Tampa. The University of Tampa Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) holds its commissioning ceremony there every year. My daughter stood on the stage looking fit and trim, proud in her dress uniform with a smile that just wouldn't stop. We were all smiling and so very proud.
While the Iraqi military, with some help from Iran and the U.S., may be able to hold on to what is left within its purview, it's hard to see it reclaiming much territory without major foreign interventions. Which could easily backfire, both for Tehran and Washington, the only capitals which might be involved.