Support troops overseas, families back home
People are hunting at the mall for great bargains and in the mountains
for trophy elk and deer. People are going to school and going to
parties. The nightly news is no longer dominated by bombs bursting in
air, or more likely, today, along a roadside. We’re more likely to see
people screaming about health care injustices than we are people
screaming either for or against battles in faraway, harsh and hostile
Life goes on.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember there is a war on. It’s hard to remember that somebody’s son or daughter, somebody’s father or mother, is being deployed to fight in that war to preserve our freedoms to go play golf, eat cheeseburgers or target practice with the firearm of our choice.
A stark reminder that the war has not been won, and may go on for a long, long time, occurred recently. News was released that the 116th Brigade Combat Team might once again be called to Iraq. The 116th includes units from La Grande, Baker City, Pendleton, Ontario and The Dalles. The unit served in Iraq from 2004 to late 2005. Two members of the 116th paid the ultimate price. They did not come home alive.
No matter how we feel about the war, it’s important that we as a community show the citizen soldiers that we are behind them 100 percent and will give them whatever support they need.
If the soldiers do indeed return to Iraq — the local unit has about 150 members from Union and Wallowa counties — it’s important for the community to once again show them and their families strong support.
Deploying takes tremendous sacrifice. Families, too, need emotional support. They could easily be torn apart through the stress of separation and the hardships that entails. The soldiers need to hear from the people back home and receive regular care packages. The families left behind are left to worry endlessly about the safety of their soldier. They need help so they can stay in touch with their loved one, and so they can keep their homes safe and secure.
During the last deployment, the Union County Chamber of Commerce stepped up to show significant support. The chamber organized a group that helped ensure families had support they need. Volunteers and donations were instrumental in making that effort work, and more will be needed this time, should a second deployment become a reality.
The community needs to show its concern, its fears, its pride. We need to show the soldiers we care and appreciate their commitment and sacrifice to serve our country.