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Our troops in Iraq performed at the highest level of professionalism, involving the most challenging circumstances. Their valor was extraordinary, as seen in the number of medals bestowed on them. Their legacy was established by the fact that U.S. forces lost no significant battles.
At many times outnumbered or surrounded by an often hostile population in hell holes such as Fallujah, Marines and soldiers fought hand-to-hand with jihadists and al-Qaida terrorists, and they prevailed. In addition to their major role as combatants, made even more dangerous and difficult by very restrictive rules of engagement, our troops served as de facto mayors, bankers, construction supervisors, principals of schools and many other capacities for which they had no training — and they excelled here, too.
Unlike the indifference and hostility shown by many members of the ’60s generation, polls show that a majority of today’s young people admire their contemporaries in uniform or those who have served. They will have an opportunity to join hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans in saying thanks to our returning Iraq veterans on Constitution Avenue on May 28. We hope that you will join us in honoring their sacrifice and the sacrifice of the thousands who have been killed and wounded while in service to our country.
James C. Roberts is president of the American Veterans Center, the organizer of the National Memorial Day Parade.