Area Iraqis Especially Thankful This Holiday - For Freedom

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As he helps his customers in Freeport, Khadhim Al-Inezi couldn't be more thankful. His homeland, at last, is free.

"This Thanksgiving is different to me, because I feel like I have two countries to celebrate for, and I got Iraq and I got United States," Al-Inezi said.

The holiday will be especially memorable for Al-Inezi and 25 other area Iraqis. In January, the group put their personal stake in Iraq's emerging democracy, casting these historic ballots in Chicago. Now, for this Thanksgiving, Iraqis here and abroad say they have more pride and patriotism.

"I think we feel more freedom. Now you can talk about anybody in the government, and we feel we are building our government big and strong," Al-Inezi said.

Al-Inezi spent two months in Southern Iraq this fall. He says while the there's still much work to be done, Al-Inezi is excited an American tradition of thanks is being passed on, and shared back home.

"It's going to be something special for the army, for the Iraqi Army. They are going to celebrate with the United States Army, they are going to celebrate together, they are going to eat, sit and talk, and eat together," Al-Inezi said.

And like the Native Americans and Pilgrims nearly four hundred years ago, two nations, two cultures will again unite and give thanks, a thanks for freedom.