I just read in this morning's paper about the loss of a former Utahn and current contractor serving in Iraq to a roadside improvised explosive device (IED).
I had just moments before hung up the telephone from talking with my former chief of staff in Baghdad, an American Army major, who had to cut short our call because the American headquarters at the Republican Palace (and my former office) was at that very moment being rocketed.
Such events are a powerful and forceful reminder to me of the importance of the American mission in Iraq and the continuing bravery of the American men and women who serve there to bring a better life to the Iraqi people while simultaneously fighting forces of evil in the continuing war on terror. Those events are very personal to me, having only recently returned from Iraq and experiencing the daily necessity of protecting my staff by maintaining constant vigilance for rocket and mortar attacks, roadside IEDs, car bombs, and vehicle and roadside ambushes.
Our freedom comes with a price, always has, and always will! The overwhelming majority of our men and women serving abroad, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, go about their daily tasks bravely and without complaint, while continually facing constant danger from planned and random acts of violence intended to kill or maim them and dishearten and destroy the will of Iraqis, Afghanistanis, and our own American citizens here in this country. We must not permit that to happen -- we owe it to those who serve and especially to those who have been injured or who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and to their families and loved ones! And we owe it to those whose lives were lost or forever changed or altered by the events of 9/11. This war on terror is not easy, but we are steadily winning it on all fronts! We must stay the course in spite of temporary setbacks and mistakes that should and do only serve to teach us.
May God bless America, her citizens, and all who serve to keep us free, both here and abroad!
Robert C. Gross