For many Americans, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are far off in the distance, with little impact on their own lives. But here in the South Sound, they resonate as clearly as the sound of artillery during training exercises and as visibly as the transport planes that fly overhead.
Because of the presence of Fort Lewis, few other places in America so deeply feel the weight of war and know the cost of it. The single deadliest day so far for our forces was Monday, when eight Stryker soldiers were killed in two separate roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, they and 10 other Americans came home. President Obama was at Dover Air Force Base, Del. – the first time a president has been present when remains of fallen military arrived.
The president’s presence was significant. He will soon decide how to continue pursuing the war in Afghanistan. Welcoming home the 18 dead Americans and meeting with family members – when their grief and loss was still raw – will surely weigh on his decision.
Obama acknowledged as such after the Dover ceremony: "The burden that both our troops and our families bear in any wartime situation is going to bear on how I see these conflicts."
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