On March 14, 2008, the Dispatch printed an Open Forum letter by Patricia Scott from the Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace, noting that we were approaching the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Following her letter, there was a long, heated discussion on the comment board online. The first comment quoted a recent poll released by the Pew Research Center stating that only 28 percent of adult American citizens could estimate the number of U.S. troops killed so far during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (4,444).
Regardless of our opinions about this war or our political leanings, we should hang our heads in shame at that number. Not even a third of us know how many soldiers we have lost? How can we discuss this war and express an opinion when we haven't even been paying attention? These soldiers have paid the ultimate price to protect and serve our country. How can we claim to be supporting our troops?
I followed a link provided in the online debate to a page called, Honor the Fallen on the Military Times web site (www.militarytimes.com/projects/flash/4000/). As I stared at the faces and names, I started crying. We, as a nation, have profoundly failed our troops.
Maybe Dispatch will set aside a page, if not now, maybe on Memorial Day, to list the names of those we have lost. There is a list online at icasualties.org/oif/US_NAMES.aspx. It does not include the names of the 30,000 soldiers who have been injured.
Please, give our soldiers and their loved ones the honor and respect they deserve. If there are any military families reading this letter, thank you for your sacrifice and your service. May your loved ones come home safe and sound.
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