05/13/11 — Still fighting: Airman's courage a reminder just what's at stake in Middle East

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Still fighting: Airman's courage a reminder just what's at stake in Middle East

There was a bit of euphoria when the nation heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. It seemed almost like the war against terror had been won, or nearly won.

But this week, we were reminded once again that there are still battles to be fought and Americans sacrificing to take down the terrorists.

Staff Sgt. Ben Seekell and his dog, Charlie, were on patrol in Bagram when they encountered an anti-personnel device. Seekell was severely injured in the ensuing blast, as was his K-9 officer.

Both are recovering.

It is a stark reminder of just how dangerous this job has been, and will be, for the men and women serving in Bagram and around the Middle East -- and how grateful we should be for their hard work and courage.

Seekell is already planning for the next phase of his life, which he hopes will include continuing to serve. He has a sense of duty to his Security Forces unit and to the country he has pledged to serve.

That alone should make his community, his base and his family proud.

There are many stories like Seekell's across Afghanistan and many families who are living with a loss of a loved one or helping a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine deal with a catastrophic injury.

No matter how good the news from the battlefields and no matter what the politicians say, we should always remember that there is a cost to those battles and a slew of courageous men and women risking their lives to execute those orders.

There is no real victory until terrorists are neutralized -- and all of our heroes are home.

Published in Editorials on May 13, 2011 10:45 AM