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By George S. Kulas
This holiday season finds America in a grieving state. We are grieving the loss of innocent American civilians, firefighters and police officers at the hands of cowardly terrorists who viciously attacked us without provocation. This holiday season also finds us at war. We have sent our sons and daughters off to avenge the deaths of those innocent Americans and to destroy those who wish to destroy us and our way of life.
Achieving pre-September 11th normalcy again in America will likely be a long and arduous process. Many Americans will never know "normal" again. The families of those who died will never again experience the comfort of being with the loved ones who were so savagely murdered in cold blood.
The torch has been handed off from the heroes at ground zero at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and onboard ill-fated United Airlines Flight 93 to the men and women of our armed forces. These men and women, to the best of their ability, will try to ensure that no American family ever has to suffer through the agony of losing a loved one through terrorist activities again.
Operation Enduring Freedom is just the beginning of what is going to be a long painstaking effort to rid the world of terrorists. US military personnel are and will continue to be at the forefront of this effort voluntarily putting themselves in harms way and accepting rigorous hardships in order to accomplish their missions.
Families who have loved ones in the military can take solace in the fact that even though their loved ones are far from home they are not alone--they are among friends. The military is a family in and of itself. Within the ranks there is a common bond among the troops who view each other as brother and/or sister. The military family works together, laughs together, cries together and fights together. In future years the time they serve together now will be remembered by most of them as their time of honor.
Yes, this holiday season America is grieving and once again American fighting men and women are serving far from home. They are especially serving those innocent Americans who were lost at the hands of terrorists but remain in our hearts. Their spirits live on in our nation giving our people the strength to rise above the ashes and debris to avenge their deaths and to defend the homeland against all enemies whether they are foreign or domestic. Our sons and daughters in uniform are doing that for us; as a result their children and their future children, like so many American children before them, will enjoy a way of life their parents fought to preserve.
George S. Kulas is a retired Sergeant Major who now lives in Wisconsin.
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