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Let no American forget what the armed forces do

May 28, 2002|BY BOB MAGINNIS

Suddenly last September, Americans were shaken out of their reverie by a series of terrorist attacks that killed thousands in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Much has been written about them and the heroic firefighters who died trying to save many of them. We write today to honor a different group of Americans, that, to our national shame, were not given enough thought prior to Sept. 11.

They're the men and women of America's armed forces, who joined the service not because they were drafted as in times long past, but because they wanted to serve.

No doubt some were drawn by the availability of career training or some of the other benefits that attract people to the military. But they knew when they joined that part of the deal was agreeing to put themselves in harm's way, for the good of the country, should the need arise.

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Even in peacetime, serving in the military is a dangerous job. A gun goes off when it's not supposed to, a helicopter veers into a tall tree and the lines of a parachute tangle after the rip cord is pulled. Now all members of the armed services are at risk from terrorists not because they're engaged in combat, although some are, but just because they wear the uniform.

When they do that, they're representatives of this nation who willingly shield American citizens from the people who want to do this nation harm.

And so as you turn those hot dogs and hamburgers on the holiday grill today, take a minute to remember that you are safe and secure because someone else agreed to safeguard your freedom.

And if you know someone who is serving in the military today or who is a veteran, take the time to talk to them and tell them you appreciate what they've done or what they continue to do. And resolve not to let their sacrifices be forgotten today or in the future.

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