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A month to remember

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --   Between September 11th and October 11th, a 30-day period equal to one month, we are asked to remember some of the most historical events in the U.S. Air Force and the world.

We are asked to remember the brutal attacks of 9/11, we are asked to remember those who sacrificed so much as Prisoners of War or former Missing in Action service members, we are asked to remember that the U.S. Air Force was established and locally we remember the start of what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

One thing that most people may not know is that during this period we also remember the start of the war in Afghanistan.

It has been 12 years since the war began, a war that began because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and since the start of that war, more than 2,266 service members and three Department of Defense civilian employees have lost their lives, with another 19,310 members wounded in action.

Just recently the Air Force Times publication reported that during the week of Sept. 12-18, two more service members gave the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives.

As the war continues and the potential drawdown begins, we need to remember these service members and civilians who are still serving in Afghanistan and that each and every day they are in harm's way.

Sometimes we get caught up in our own problems, such as the government shutdown and civilian furloughs, our own home crisis, our own financial dilemmas and so on that we have a tendency to forget about those serving in a deployed environment.

We need to take a step back and remember that when things seem at their worst, that in reality they could be a lot worse.

We need to remember service members like Staff Sgt. Todd Lobraico Jr., from New Fairfield, Conn., who died Sept. 5 of wounds caused by small-arms fire near Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. We need to remember U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Thomas Jr., from Fontana, Calif., who died from wounds suffered in an explosion in Maiwand, Afghanistan. The list continues and each day more names are added to it.

As we remembered the brutal attacks of 9/11, 12 years ago; as we remembered POW/MIA day, Sept. 12; as we remembered the U.S. Air Force started Sept. 18, 66 years ago and as we remembered the start of JBLM, Oct. 1, more than 3 years ago, let's also take a moment to remember those who are still sacrificing their lives in a war that also started 12 years ago.

The 30-day period between Sept. 11th and Oct. 11th is a month of strong memories for service members and DoD civilians past and present. When you have a free minute, take some time to remember these events and remember there are still those every day fighting for our freedom.