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Heroes fight to preserve life as we know it page 2
Tom Sileo's op-ed column on The Unknown Soldiers: Life As We Know It

 A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Spc. Tyler J. Orgaard, of Bismark, N.D., at Dover Air Force Base.
Greg L. Davis/Courtesy of U. S. Air Force
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Date published: 12/30/2012

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The war in Afghanistan is happening right now. It didn't end when Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden or after any of the last three presidential elections. Every day, brave troops like Linde, Orgaard, and Placek are patrolling through rugged, dangerous terrain, constantly threatened by enemy snipers and roadside bombs.

I recently went to see the movie "Lincoln" at a local theater. During the film, I was struck most by a scene in which the 16th president, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, rides on horseback through a Civil War battlefield while looking in anguish at countless fallen warriors. Then, to pay tribute, Lincoln removes his iconic hat.

The 19th century was obviously a much different time. But I believe 21st-century America would be a better place if we all followed President Abraham Lincoln's example. We must do more to honor the extraordinary men and women who volunteer to risk their lives on post-9/11 battlefields.

Perhaps some of Lincoln's most famous words, uttered on the bloody Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg, can help reawaken our nation to the sacrifices of its heroes.

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion," Lincoln said on Nov. 19, 1863. "That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

As Lincoln's words inspire us, so should the words of Adrienne Linde, wife of fallen Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde and mother of their four children.

"Darren gave his life so that others could pass through safely," a statement from the grieving widow said.

As the war in Afghanistan enters its 12th year, let's renew our commitment to honoring America's brave men and women in uniform. Without them, life as we know it would perish.

Tom Sileo is a columnist for Creators Syndicate.


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