Sunday, April 24, 2005

Reservists from Southwest Virginia Iraq-bound

Members of the 80th Institutional Training Division from Salem leave for deployment next month. They join other units that include soldiers from Southwest Virginia.

It is sobering to look at these men and women who are civilians, highly-trained of course, leaving their families and jobs for dangerous duty. They are more like us -- plumbers, cable technicians, etc -- than the regular career military types.

I attempted to rejoin the Guard after 911. It wasn't something I wanted to do, but I felt a duty since I've got friends and family in the regular Army and Guard who are in Iraq and Afghanistan. I admit to a slight sense of relief when I was told I was just over the age limit. Just going through the motions as if enlisting, however, highlighted what I might be giving up.

So, look around today and ask how you'd like to leave your life -- family, friends, job, projects -- for a year to go somewhere people want to kill you. And then, thank the folks who are in the danger zone in your stead. Assuming you aren't already a member of a military Family Support Group or other such organization, figure out a way to support your neighbors who are walking the beat against the bad guys. Contacting their headquarters is a good place to start, or one of the many organizations dedicated to supporting the troops.

Show 'em the Marines aren't the only ones who are "Semper Fi."