The and quiet were deafening their first night in America.
No bombs exploded. No Humvees with armed soldiers rolled up the street. No gun-toting militia knocked the front door down looking to kill traitors.
Iraq was left behind a world away.
"Too quiet ... yes," Farah Al-Husseini said with a smile through an interpreter -- her brother, Omar Al-Husseini.
But things weren't too quiet Wednesday night for Farah, her husband Zeyad Al-Mahdawi and their two children, Laya, 4, and 17-month-old Fadhil, to enjoy their first American dream.
"We just sleep," Farah said.
"They feel that change, the security because we don't have the security there in Iraq," said Omar Al-Husseini, who took his sister and her family into the Mishawaka home he shares with wife Israa, their two small children and brother-in-law Omar Al-Arman.
Emotions were off the charts Wednesday night after Farah, Zeyad, Laya and Fadhil stepped off the plane at South Bend Regional Airport onto American soil.
When Al-Husseini spotted his sister and her family, he made a beeline up the terminal and hugged Farah for several minutes. Wiping away tears, Al-Husseini grabbed some luggage and the family headed off to their new home on 11th Street in Mishawaka for the first night of total peace and quiet they have ever experienced.
"We just want to begin a new life," Farah said Thursday evening sitting in her brother's apartment.
The opportunity for a new life away from the atrocities of war-ravaged Iraq may never have come for Farah and Zeyad if it weren't for Omar, who drew the ire of his homeland's insurgents when he was found to be working as a contractor for a communications company that contracted with the U.S. Army.
"In Iraq," Al-Husseini said, "anyone who works with any kind of organization that works with the United States Army, they view him as a traitor, or like a spy.
"So if you keep working with them, absolutely they will kill you."
They killed Omar's father in 2005.
"They killed my father because I was working with the United States Army," he said. "They came to our house and took my father, and tortured him to death."
Omar's affiliation with the U.S. Army also put other members of his family on the insurgents' radar.
Zeyad Al-Mahdawi lost two brothers -- one to a suicide bomb -- in 2008, his mother in 2010, and his father last year.
Omar was targeted three times from 2005 through 2009.
In 2007, he recalled, "they got me at a checkpoint" just outside Baghdad when U.S. Army soldiers rolled up in a Humvee and dropped a gas bomb on the insurgents.
"I shout at them, 'I work with you and they try to kill me,'" Al-Husseini said, which prompted the American soldiers to take over the checkpoint and save the Iraqi worker's life.
The third attempt on his life was the final straw.
"They put a bomb in my car and it exploded," said Al-Husseini.
"I said, enough. Sooner or later they're going to kill me," Al-Husseini said.
"So I apply with the program -- the National Organization for Migration -- and I begin the process to get out of Iraq."
That process fed into the Church World Service, a volunteer organization that works with the United Nations to help refugees from war-torn countries relocate to the United States.
"To be a refugee, you have to have a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country," said Gena Robinson, a Red Cross volunteer who works with the St. Joseph County chapter of the Red Cross' Refugee Resettlement Program
Al-Husseini and his wife first relocated to San Diego. But when he couldn't find a job, Al-Husseini moved to South Bend, where he landed a job immediately at the Mishawaka bookstore, Better World Books.
With Robinson's assistance through the Red Cross Resettlement Program, Al-Husseini was able to bring Farah, Zeyad and their children here.
"There's no security in Iraq," Farah said through her brother. "If you're a woman and you go out, maybe you will not come back. Maybe they come with a bomb. We don't have any kind of entertainment for our kids. They are just sitting home because we can't go outside. We don't have future there. We don't know where this future will take you."
Wednesday night when they stepped foot off that plane, the future opened wide for this Iraqi family.
"At least my husband, he will work and we can build a good life for me, my husband and our kids," Farah said.
"This is what I'm doing. This is the main reason why I come here."
Staff writer Jeff Harrell: