07/03/09 — The heroes: Four families mourn today as we prepare for holiday

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The heroes: Four families mourn today as we prepare for holiday

We lost four heroes this week.

They were not our own, although their hometowns were close by.

The news that they are gone came as another announcement was made of a new, extensive assault in Afghanistan as U.S. Marines and others attacked Taliban hideouts.

We have been thinking of those 4,000 men and women and their families, too, and hoping that as many as possible will be on their way home soon.

But today, we read, with heavy hearts that there will be four heroes whose service has ended in lives lost -- and we realize, once again, just how often war can hit home.

And what is saddest of all, is that all of them leave behind families who will have to go on without them.

The four National Guardsmen who died during one of the last combat days in Iraq -- on the very day the U.S. turned the security back over to Iraqi forces -- were not there for the long term.

They were called to duty as part of the nation's reserve forces -- some of them probably having served multiple tours.

They are likely men who left behind jobs, lives and families as they fulfilled their duty to their country.

And they represent thousands of men and women who do the same thing every day and every year in North Carolina and around the country.

As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July with our family and friends, we should take time to think about these men.

It should be in their honor that we salute the flag.

Published in Editorials on July 3, 2009 11:01 AM