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Our View....Make Iraq War more than a bad memory

This week represents an anniversary of sorts. And while anniversaries often connote celebration and festivities, this one serves more as a solemn reminder of just what has happened over these past 10 years, how much has been gained and lost, and ...

This week represents an anniversary of sorts. And while anniversaries often connote celebration and festivities, this one serves more as a solemn reminder of just what has happened over these past 10 years, how much has been gained and lost, and the price that has been paid.

Tuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the War in Iraq -- a decade of controversy, turmoil, deadly combat and yes, the occasional victory that served to give us hope that all was worthwhile. Depending on whatever political bent you might take when it comes to the reason for the conflict and the role the United States has played in it, you might see it as one of the most valiant efforts in our country's history -- or one of its worst mistakes.

And so, as this somewhat sobering anniversary rolled around, the tendency for some might have been to look back upon it with a sour taste in their mouths, especially if they lost a family member or loved one in the course of the combat.

Carlton County alone sacrificed three of its own, with a fourth having close family ties to the area -- Lance Cpl. Levi T. Angell of Cloquet died of injuries suffered when his Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Anbar Province, Iraq; Pfc. Moises A. Langhorst of Moose Lake was killed by hostile fire, also in Anbar Province, Iraq; Pfc. Matthew G. Milczark of Kettle River died of a non-combat gunshot wound in Camp Victory, Kuwait; and Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Scott Lourey died of injuries suffered when his OH-58 helicopter came under small arms fire and crashed in Buhriz, Iraq.

In light of these young men who gave their lives in the effort, perhaps it would be best if this 10th anniversary be treated not so much as a political milestone but as a timely memorial to their humanity, their willingness to serve, their valiant efforts on behalf of the rest of us, and the ultimate sacrifice they made. Their life stories are not unlike the thousands of others who lost their lives in the conflict -- military and civilians as well.

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While many may disagree over whether the war was won or lost, we must not lose sight of those who willingly took part on behalf of our country. If we hold fast to those memories, the battle will be won long after the war is over.

Wendy Johnson

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