*While we are eating our barbecue and enjoying the fireworks, we should remember these things.
"NAWA, Afghanistan – Taliban militants were nowhere in sight as the columns of U.S. Marines walked a third straight day across southern Afghanistan. But the desert heat proved an enemy in its own right, with several troops falling victim Saturday to temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Marines carry 50-100 pounds (23-45 kilograms) on their backs. But because they are marching through farmland on foot, they can't carry nearly as much water as their thirst demands.
Few even realized the date was July 4, but once word of the holiday spread through the company, several said they knew relatives would be holding lakeside celebrations — a world away from the strenuous task Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment was taking on.
"Happy 4th of July, dawg. Happy America," said Lance Corp. Vince Morales, 21, of Baytown, Texas said to one of his Marine buddies while resting under a tree during a break."
Wow. I remember when I was at MCT at Camp San Onofre (right before the 1st Persian Gulf war). Heck, I was in TRAINING on the 4th of July, they gave us the day off, but we only had liberty on Camp Pendleton. AND I WAS MAD ABOUT THAT. These guys and what they are enduring to help the Afghan people and capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, make me feel ashamed I had the nerve to complain during combat training.
A road march is a hard thing under normal circumstances (any Soldier or Marine and some Sailors and Airmen can attest to that), and these young Marines are marching into danger.
I know people are mourning celebrities like Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon, and we should, these people lead public lives and brought many people happiness and inspiration with their gifts and talents. However, I would hope that people become more aware of the real people from all over the US in ALL the branches of the armed forces that are risking and in some cases giving up their lives.
The Afghan war has gone on much longer than it should have, I hope our elected officials, the civilian appointees and employees of the defense and state departments, and the general officers do the right things and prepare the right plans for this to be over sooner than later and to keep casualty loss on all sides as low as possible.