The photographs of late have been eerily reminiscent of a previous time: Men and women in uniform kissing and hugging spouses, children, family members; flags, tears, uncertainty. Much like Desert Storm in 1991, we're seeing more and more of our citizen soldiers packing up and leaving for parts unknown.
As of this week, 709 members of the West Virginia National Guard have been mobilized; 180 of them shipped out of Grafton Monday. According to state Military Affairs and Public safety spokesman Randy Coleman, we're nearing the same number of guardsmen activated in 1991.
"We're getting on par (with Desert Storm)," said Coleman. "The end has not come yet."
Once again, the U.S. is moving toward a major war, and once again West Virginians are doing their part. As these people march off to uncertain futures, those of us on the home front salute them.
As Lt. Col. Terri O'Brien told members of the 363rd Military Police Company in Grafton on Monday: "You are a credit to your nation. So are you, families, for supporting them."
Whether or not you support a war with Iraq, we must rally around our friends, neighbors and loved ones in uniform. We must also look out for the people they leave behind.
This is a very trying time, not only for those in harm's way, but for those who await their return. It's a scenario often repeated in this country. It never gets any easier.