Pioneer Editorial: Giving honor to those who serve freedom
Wednesday was a big day for 2,600 Minnesota National Guard troops at Camp Shelby, Miss., as fellow Minnesotans traveled to the South to serve up a fine steak dinner to them and their families who were able to join them. We know many from Bemidji did.
Wednesday was a big day for 2,600 Minnesota National Guard troops at Camp Shelby, Miss., as fellow Minnesotans traveled to the South to serve up a fine steak dinner to them and their families who were able to join them. We know many from Bemidji did. Today becomes more formal, as a ceremony will be held and Gov. Tim Pawlenty will speak.
For you see, the time has come to send off 2,600 Minnesota soldiers in the 1/34th Brigade Team. Their deployment sometime in the next few days to Iraq for more than a year of active duty marks the largest continent of this state's National Guard troops to see combat since World War II.
And, as part of the multi-state brigade, the contingent includes Some 50 Bemidji troops, members of Company A, 2/136th Combined Arms Battalion. Their duty in Iraq will include motorized infantry operations in Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and in providing security and police support. They have been training the past six months at Camp Shelby, and the time has now come for duty.
Regardless of the politics surrounding the war in Iraq, and the ongoing discussions and debate of how and when we have accomplished what we set out to do, the fact remains that our community has courageous souls who have answered the call to do the greatest service one can do for one's nation -- laying down one's life to protect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of others. It is a sacrifice not many of us are willing to make, which makes it even more precious and significant that there are those who will.
It is also a sacrifice we cannot take lightly, nor should we ever take for granted. For not the sacrifice of those being deployed now, falling in the steps of many generations before them who donned this nation's uniform, we would not have the freedoms that we so preciously enjoy today.
Today we not only thank those members of our community for their great service to our country, and wish them all a safe return, but also embrace their families who must endure the absence of their loved ones for more than a year. It is to those members of our community that we must also reach out and gather under our wings and offer our continuing support.
One source is provided by the state, through the First Lady's Military Family Care Initiative. First Lady Mary Pawlenty has compiled resources which may be of aid to military families, including a registry of volunteers able to help with a number of services, from preparing meals to help with household chores. Visit http://www.governor.state.mn.us/ FirstLady/flmain1.asp to access some of those services or to sign up as a volunteer.
As our citizen soldiers from Bemidji prepare to depart for their overseas mission, we want to them to go knowing they and their families will be in our prayers each and every day they are gone.