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How often do you think about our troops?

Courtesy of MCT

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Ask people where they were on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and you will get an exact answer. I was in seventh grade and was just starting my second period art class when someone walked in the room and informed us of the chilling news.

Everyone in the class knew what had just happened was tragic, but no one attributed the events to terrorism. When word spread that the second plane had hit, there was an even greater sense of unease, but still no real understanding.

Once I got home and saw the images on TV, it began to sink in that the morning’s events were no accident. Osama bin Laden’s face continually flashed on the screen, a face that became the image of terror for the next decade.

The news Sunday night of his death at the hands of American soldiers closed a small chapter in this saga and jogged my memory back to that infamous day. Bin Laden’s death in no way marks the end, as many others who spread terror will hopefully meet a similar fate; but it provides at least a little bit of closure.

A person’s death is not often a reason for happiness, but in this case the joy can be plentiful, and no excuses need be issued. Despite being only one man among many, bin Laden was a target from day one. With previous unsuccessful military missions abroad and the down economy at home, it is comforting to know that something has gone right.

But amid the excitement and celebration, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of guilt as well. Because I have no one in my immediate circle of family and friends fighting overseas, it is easy for me to go days, weeks or even months without giving the military much thought.

Sure, I, like many others, expressed jubilation at the news of bin Laden’s death. But do I mourn every time a fellow American, far braver than I, loses his or her life fighting the same battle?

The answer, sadly, is no, which is not something I am proud of. I take their efforts for granted. The news Sunday made me realize that.

Life is easy for me. I can experience a war on TV, thousands of miles away. But for those among us with a brother, sister, mom, dad, son, daughter, niece, nephew, aunt or uncle risking their lives for this great country, life is not so easy. The wars have been entirely different for these people. They likely go weeks and months thinking of nothing but the war.

That is why Sunday, May 1, 2011, was such a great day — because we as a nation directed our collective attention rallying behind the thousands of men and women who make our daily lives so comfortable.

It is important that we remember these people through both thick and thin. They deserve to be in our thoughts and prayers always.

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