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'Don't forget' the many who have sacrificed
Tom Sileo's op-ed column on The Unknown Soldiers: Don't Forget

 The burial ceremony for Christopher Mosko.
Courtesy of Jasmine Sheard
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Date published: 7/4/2013


--During a June trip to San Diego, I met the wife of a U.S. Navy bomb specialist who was recently killed while serving in Afghanistan. Still devastated and overwhelmed by grief, she shared a concern that is paramount, both now and in the difficult years to come.

"I just want to make sure people don't forget," she said.

The grieving widow's poignant words are similar to what I've heard from many Gold Star spouses, parents, and siblings during almost three years of writing this weekly column. While their loss hurts in a way very few can understand, they are comforted by knowing people remember their loved ones.

This is hard to write and probably even harder for many families of fallen service members to read. In 2013, most Americans are not only forgetting the sacrifices of the brave men and women who preserve their freedom; they're not noticing in the first place.

As of the month's 26th day, 15 U.S. troops had been killed in Afghanistan in June 2013. The fallen heroes are from small towns like Evans Mills, N.Y., Moseley, Va., and Panama, Okla., and large cities like Houston, Phoenix, and Sacramento.

Aside from honorable ceremonies in their hometowns and on various military bases, where was the national outpouring for these fallen warriors and their families? Where were the candlelight vigils, celebrity-filled telethons, and emotional speeches by national leaders on both sides of the political aisle?

Maybe some Americans were too busy at the beach, at the movies, or watching the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals. Maybe some politicians on Capitol Hill, in particular, were too busy enjoying their annual Memorial Day recess to remember what the holiday actually means.

I used to blame the media for a disturbing, dishonorable national trend. After all, the press has fostered a culture in which names of sex-tape performers are more recognizable to most than names like Sgt. Dakota Meyer, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, and Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, the most recent Afghanistan war heroes to receive the Medal of Honor.

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