01/19/06 — With gratitude: We can let airmen, families know they are appreciated

View Archive

With gratitude: We can let airmen, families know they are appreciated

The sound of freedom.

That is what many Wayne County residents say when they are referring to the roar of jet engines that often resonates through the skies here.

And early this morning, we heard that roar again as aircrews from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base boarded their F-15Es and started their long flights to southwest Asia, where they will offer support to the forces already there on the ground continuing the war on terrorism.

We should feel a certain amount of pride when we hear those engines and see the jets fly overhead. And we should keep our flags up, too, until the men and women who will fly those jets and care for them come home safely.

But we should also pause a moment to remember the risk these men and women are taking every time they get into a cockpit or maintain an aircraft in a war zone.

The airmen who left today and the support crews who left earlier this week are heroes who could potentially lose their lives in service to their country and the people of Iraq.

They do not waste time worrying about what might happen, and they certainly don’t let the potential danger keep them from doing their jobs. They just quietly go about getting the work done and keeping their country safe.

There will be stories of extreme heroism that we will never hear — there always are.

And there will be plenty examples of why the 4th Fighter Wing really is “first.” We probably won’t hear all of those either.

But if we really want to make sure these men and women know how proud we are and how much we appreciate the sacrifices they make without thinking twice, we can remember their families back home.

There will be many husbands, wives, children, moms and dads who will sit and wait for word from their loved ones. They will manage houses and busy lives one man or woman short.

A kind word — maybe even a thank you — or an extra hand, would go a long way to letting these families and their loved ones know that we appreciate their sacrifices and the work that they do.

We can help keep the home fires burning until our airmen come home.

Published in Editorials on January 19, 2006 10:51 AM