Letter: There should never be forgotten wars
"America owes these men and women recognition for their efforts, as well as their families who were affected by the war," Detroit Lakes, Minn. resident Tom Mortenson writes.
On March 20, 2003, U.S. forces together with British and Polish forces began Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove the dictator Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq as part of the global war on terrorism.
One of the key planners that wrote the plan named Operation Iraqi Freedom called for first air-strikes and then a ground invasion led by 150,000 U.S. and 40,000 British forces in what is known as "shock and awe.” Within six weeks the Iraqi army was defeated and demolished. But has this become another “forgotten war,” sort of like the Korean Conflict, Vietnam or even Afghanistan War (part of the global war on terrorism).
By April 9, the Coalition had taken control of the capital Baghdad. But what most Americans forget is that Operation Iraqi Freedom lasted until 2011. Altogether, according to the Department of Defense, nearly 4,500 U.S. military personnel were killed and nearly 32,000 were wounded in the Iraq War. Thousands more died in Iraq.
Yet, there were almost no ceremonies to honor those men and women who served in this effort. Think about your community, your active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel. Did you honor these veterans on this day? Did you community thank them?
Next ask yourself, “Where are the memorials?”
America owes these men and women recognition for their efforts, as well as their families who were affected by the war. Like their brothers and sisters who fought in Vietnam, Korea and Afghanistan, we have become a nation which easily forgets the words of Lincoln that we have a responsibility to “care” for those who fought, and their families. Caring is more than the VA, it is all of us.
Let each of us strive — no, demand — that we provide the very best care for our veterans and their families.
Let us remember the cost of every war is our fellow Americans. They deserve to be honored, so if your community doesn’t have a memorial to the Korean Conflict, Vietnam or the global war on terrorism, ask why.
Surely, we can affirm our obligation to those who served our nation in these wars.
Let us never have forgotten wars in our history.
Tom Mortenson is a resident of Detroit Lakes, Minn.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.