Remember Fallen Servicemen and women

Listen to the Story

I have a regular Sunday morning ritual that started five years ago. I tune into ABC This Week at about 11:10 am. This is when the In Memoriam segment runs. It’s a video obituary that profiles famous people that have passed on during the previous week.

Although seeing the profiles of famous people is interesting, it is the scrolling of the names of each soldier who died in Afghanistan and Iraq that started my Sunday ritual.

I have a friend, Tyrone Burke, who is about to begin his third deployment to Iraq. Tyrone, with 20 years of Army service, recently became a father for the first time. His sacrifice of leaving a young wife and baby daughter is being repeated everyday in every town in our country.

While the rest of us go along with our lives, these families bear the burden of separation, fear and possible loss. Recent media polls claim many of us have shifted our worries from the war to our own economic battle to keep afloat.

Even with the passing of the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, some of us have become apathetic to the human costs of the war. But this past weekend, Ohioans focused on the loss of another brave soldier, Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin. His remains were laid to rest Sunday after a touching memorial service in Cincinnati attended by over 3,500 people, including Gov. Strickland.

Whether you support the war or not, we cannot get so pre-occupied with our own daily struggles that we loose sight of the costs paid by soldiers like Tyrone Burke, Matt Maupin, and their families—for our peace and freedom.

President Bush missed the opportunity five years ago to bring our nation together with a sense of shared purpose and sacrifice by declaring the mission was accomplished— before the real war began.

In November 2008, it’s up to you and me to show the President, and the pollsters, that we do care about the outcome of Iraq—as much as we care about our own pocketbook issues.

But we don’t have to wait until November. Do something today to show a soldier that you appreciate their service. Support the volunteer work of military families like the Maupins, who created the Yellow Ribbon Support Center. The Center raises money for scholarships, and sends care packages and computers to help soldiers to stay connected to their families.

At the very least, pause for minute on Sundays at 11:10 am to pay tribute to the young men and women who have paid the ultimate cost for us. They are more than just a name scrolling a TV screen. They are someone’s son or daughter, someone’s mom or dad. Their families won’t forget them. . . and neither should we.

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