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Pray for our military

Our nation dusted off its flags and sprayed fireworks across the sky in honor of America’s birthday. We grilled hot dogs, marched in parades and wore red, white, and blue. I hope we also prayed. My family attended Mass yesterday morning, primarily because my youngest son was scheduled as an altar server. He takes this task very seriously and appreciates the moral support he receives from having the rest of the family in the pews. However, I think I will make a point of trying to get the family to Mass on July 4th in future years as well. It seemed so right to be in church acknowledging God’s many blessings to our nation and praying for his continued grace.

My husband is still on active duty, but has not served in Iraq this time around. He did fly many combat missions during the Gulf War of 1991. My oldest is beginning his junior year in college on an Army ROTC scholarship. He hopes to pursue a career as an Army infantry officer. It was comforting to have our priest remember our military in the prayers of the faithful.

Today’s Washington Post had a poignant essay by F. John Duresky, an Air Force Captain stationed in Iraq. It is entitled The Forgotten Sacrifice. Captain Duresky reminds us that most of our citizens feel no direct consequences of the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq.
The day before that, in America, a 15-year-old's incredibly rich parents planned the biggest sweet 16 party ever. They will spend more than $200,000 on an opulent event marking a single year in an otherwise unremarkable life. The soon-to-be-16 girl doesn't know where Iraq is and doesn't care. That same day an American soldier died in Iraq.

Two days earlier, a 35-year-old man went shopping for home entertainment equipment. He had the toughest time selecting the correct plasma screen; he could afford the biggest and best of everything. In the end, he had it installed by a specialty store. He spent about $50,000 on the whole system. He has never met anybody serving in the military nor served himself, but thinks we should "turn the whole place into a parking lot." That day, another American soldier died in Iraq.

Unlike previous conflicts, there are no shortages, rationing, or fear of conscription. It is very easy to push this war out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, the truth is our country is at war. Men and women are serving our country and dying for our country. We dishonor them if we choose to ignore or forget.

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