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  • I was at the Ras Lanuf checkpoint, a couple hundred yards from the front lines and found this young fighter immersed in a pocket Koran. I went over and started photographing him as he paced, reciting Koranic verses under his breath.

    Then the shouting started. “Thayara! Thayara!” Airplane! Airplane! I looked up into the crystal blue sky but couldn’t see anything. The anti-aircraft guns were pumping away like crazy. Still I couldn’t see anything.

    Then I heard something start to fall out of the sky and thought “Is the plane diving?”

    The day before, a friend told me that when you see a bomber release his payload you can actually see the bomb come out of the plane and fall. I stared, looking for this jet and its bomb, but couldn’t see a thing. I was annoyed because I really wanted to see what my friend had been talking about.

    The sound got louder and louder until something inside of me reacted. “That’s a lot louder than it should be.”

    Suddenly I knew what was about to happen and realized that I might actually die. In the split second that followed, the only thought that came to me was that if I was killed, the bomb would be the last thing I ever heard.

    And then, before I could think of anything else


    And I was still alive
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