For most of us, the war in Afghanistan, and the continued military presence in Iraq are an after-thought.
They don't touch our everyday lives, but for some South Georgia families, they produce a top of mind awareness.
Naval Special Forces Senior Chief Petty Officer Blake McLendon Of Thomasville was killed in September in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan
Senior Airman Michael Buras of Fitzgerald was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan in September.
Corporal Coty Sockalosky, a Marine from Cordele, died from wounds he suffered in an explosion in Afghanistan in October.
We are proud of the service and the sacrifice these young men made to their nation, and to the cause of freedom, in far-away lands. They did not have the blessings of longevity, or the blessing of seeing their children grow to adulthood. To have their lives end at such a young age brings special sadness.
But we are also proud of the many people who turned out to pay their respects to these fallen American warriors in Thomas, Ben Hill, and Crisp County.
Next time you see someone in the Military, let's make an effort to tell them 'thank you,' because every day women and men like McLendon, Buras and Sockalosky put their lives on the line to protect our American freedoms.
We can live the American dream because young people like Blake McLendon, Michael Buras, and Coty Sockalosky followed their dreams, which led them to wear our nation's uniform, and to pay the ultimate price for our security.