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Patriotic Article
Military
By Army Col. Mark N. Campsey

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Col. Mark Campsey, commander of the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, promotes Staff Sgt. Arredondo, of San Antonio, to Sgt. 1st Class at a ceremony behind As Salaam on Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Baghdad.
Col. Mark Campsey, commander of the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, promotes Staff Sgt. Arredondo, of San Antonio, to Sgt. 1st Class at a ceremony behind As Salaam on Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Baghdad.
Photo by Sgt. Melissa Shaw
 BAGHDAD -- Col. Mark N. Campsey, commander of the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Houston, Texas, delivered the following Memorial Day address.

"Today I hope we all take time to remember the human sacrifice it has taken to establish and maintain the freedoms that our great Nation enjoys.

Throughout the day, let's recognize those Soldiers who have died, remembering their sacrifices and those of their families, loved ones and friends.

If we forget them, then we overlook the costs of war and why we should prevent it. During our Nation's history, whole families and towns were impacted by large numbers of men and women lost during combat.
Since 2003, more than 5000 service members have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, every one of them an incomprehensible loss to our nation.

As we are remembering those who paid the way before us, our Texas Army National Guard soldiers in the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team remain focused on mission accomplishment in Iraq.

In the International Zone, we are actively involved with turning over U.S. controlled properties back to the Iraqi government. By early June, the Iraqi Army will have full control of the entry control points leading into the IZ, the heart of Baghdad and of the Iraqi government.

Since we've been on ground, both the Government of Iraq and Iraqi Security Forces have grown in capacity and capability; we've seen the Iraqi people reject violence and embrace representative government in the March 7 elections.

Although high-profile attacks have occurred in Iraq, important issues are being worked out in the Iraqi diplomatic processes rather than through violent means. As seen in the news, the debate over the election law is a clear example of this maturing, representative government.

In Western Baghdad, Texas soldiers are advising and training their Iraqi counterparts in preparation for turnover of the last remaining U.S. internment facility at Camp Cropper.

In July, we will transfer these detainees back to the Iraqi government according to the security agreement. Be proud that our Soldiers are doing exactly what has to be done at this crucial and historical point in the war.

Soldiers are anxious and excited about the thought of returning home, but there are still remaining threats. We remain ready and vigilant while executing our mission. "

As Americans, we enjoy many things and take them for granted. Let's not do that today. Take a moment to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

We'll see you soon.

Article by Army Col. Mark N. Campsey
72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (36th Infantry Div)
Copyright 2010

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