Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day – A date for us to remember

By Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch

Today we remember the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Many were our friends. They stood next to us in formation, they slept in our tents, they drove in our convoys, and they walked patrols with us. We mourn their loss.

I start every day in prayer and lay out cards with photos of the 152 Dog Face Soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice under my command in either Task Force Marne or 3ID. I study their pictures and think about the Families they left behind. I ask myself two questions: Did we do everything we could to preclude this from happening? Was it worth it?

You are the very best Soldiers in our Nation’s history. You are properly equipped, well trained, and most importantly, well led. Five years into this war, leaders are combat tested and thoroughly analyze the risks when they place Soldiers on the battlefield.

The death of our Soldiers creates an irreplaceable void for their Families, but in the larger picture, their tragic loss is making a difference. We are fighting terrorism here so that we do not have to fight it at home, and you are truly having an effect on the insurgency.

When the 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters arrived last March, attacks average 25 per day – now they average less than two a day. You have transitioned from security operations to stability operations, and are making a difference in the lives of the Iraqi people every single day. I could not be more proud or more humbled to serve alongside of you.

The loss of so many Dog Face Soldiers is heartbreaking. CSM Andrews and I have been to the majority of the memo- rial services.

During the course of the memorial service, each of us grieves in his own way. But afterwards, we put on our body armor and Soldier on. That’s the true definition of a hero. We continue to take the fight to the enemy so we do not lose more Soldiers, and we will not give up any of the ground for which our brothers in arms gave their lives.

This Memorial Day we remember the lives of those who made the ultimate price, but we do not forget them. We continue to fight on so their sacrifice is not made in vain.

Rock of the Marne!

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