Thursday, July 17, 2008

Before I beat down the Burgh Part 2

I graduated college in 2002. I would have been happy to stay in my new found home, but the Army saw to it that I would not be able to stay. They had lived up to their end of the bargain to pay for my college, now it was time for me to live up to mine.

I spent the next three years bouncing around, from Kentucky, to Georgia, to Iraq and back. The whole time I wanted to get back to Pittsburgh more than anything. I tried to visit at least several times a year. At the time, Pittsburgh seemed like a fortress of reason and intelligence, where I was living in the land of ignorance and necks that are red. I told myself again and again that when I was done serving, I would come back to Pittsburgh (but I wasn't really sure I believed it myself).

In 2005 I sealed the deal. I met my now fiance' while home on R and R from Iraq. In 2006 I was released from Active Duty and moved back to Pittsburgh. It was not all roses, not by a long shot. The population had really begun to leave the region, and Pittsburgh was still dealing with its plunge into bankruptcy in 2004. The poor state of the region affected me personally. I came out of the military with a pretty good resume'. While friends of mine had accepted very good paying jobs across the country, I limited myself because I wanted to be here, for better or for worse. I spent the last two years bouncing from job to job trying to find a good job that was equal to my experience. I've finally found a decent job, but it's not my dream job and it's probably just another stop along the way to my ultimate goal.

Either way, and as silly as it may sound, I am committed to this place. It has become my home, and we've shared the best times, and the worst times. My heart is tied to the success or failure of the city.

Right now we (you, me, local government) are not going in the right direction, so I will be critical, I will "bash the Burgh". But just know, that I do it out of a sense of tough love. Because Pittsburgh is a great place, and it should be able to live up to its potential.

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