Image courtesy: Pfc. David Hauk, U.S. Army. Kandahar, Afghanistan, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The dauntless dozen

"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on." ~President Kennedy

While progress continues to be made in Afghanistan ahead of this summer's Kandahar offensive, the price being paid remains enormous. As Memorial Day approaches, the Pentagon has announced 12 American casualties from the battlefield over the past week. Five are soldiers who tragically died in a Kabul suicide attack one week ago today, while the following seven heroes were all killed in combat around the war-torn country. The Army has endured ten of the casualties, while two volunteer warriors, Lance Cpls. Clark and Xavier, were proud Marines.

Cpl. Nicholas Paradarodriguez, 29, Stafford, VA (Helmand province)
Staff Sgt. Adam Perkins, 27, Antelope, CA (Helmand province)
Lance Cpl. Patrick Xavier Jr., 24, Pembroke Pines, FL (Helmand province)
Staff Sgt. Shane Barnard, 38, Desmet, SD (Zabul province)
Pfc. Billy Anderson, 20, Alexandria, TN (Baghdis province)
Lance Cpl. Philip Clark, 19, Gainesville, FL (Helmand province)
Pfc. Jason Fingar, 24, Columbia, MO (Durai)

As we look forward to a three-day weekend, it is crucial to remember what Monday represents. As these 12 American families spend Memorial Day mourning immeasurable losses, we must grieve with them, and renew our pledge to support Gold Star families around the nation. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, thousands of families have made countless sacrifices in America's time of need. Let's all keep asking how we can give something back to them.

"We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free." ~President Reagan

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