CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - One can travel the world from the Acropolis in Athens to the pyramids of the ancient Mayan Empire and find no structure older or more emblematic of civilization's beginning than the Ziggurat of Ur found in modern day Iraq.

Built around the 4th century B.C., the modern-day Ziggurat of Ur is actually the reconstruction of an earlier one built around 21st century B.C. by King Shulgi in order to win allegiances with surrounding civilizations and claim himself as a god.

Reconstructed by the neo-Sumerian leader, King Nabonidus, the Ziggurat of Ur is ironically one small piece in a much larger complex dedicated to the moon god Nanna, patron deity of Ur.

The ziggurat was shaken by nearby explosions and peppered with hundreds of bullet holes over the last eight years of combat operations.

"It is impressive to think anyone was able to excavate, preserve and successfully research such an old and enormous structure," said Lt. Col. Robert Wright, of Task Force 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, commander of the unit that operates near the ziggurat,.

The ziggurat is a place of historical significance which is viewed as a treasured landmark by everyone in Iraq despite politics and religion.

The ziggurat and the ruins that surround it take you back thousands of years. The mud and stone mixture seemingly rise out of the sandy dunes into a triumphant structure symbolizing the cradle of civilization. The stairs of the ziggurat climb into the past, inspiring those that are leading our troops into the future.