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Celebrating true American heroes

Mark Story is a true American hero.

He was already an active citizen, as a member of the Dallas County school board, local business owner, husband and father.

Then, on Feb. 23, he packed his bags and headed to Iraq.

For the next eight months, Story was stationed in the Iraqi city of Al Asad where he was the embarkation coordinator for the 24th Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB 24). The NMCB 24 involved coordinating convoys for transporting supplies throughout Iraq in order to build camps for groups such as the Iraqi Security Force. He recently came back home.

A story in Monday’s edition of The Selma Times-Journal celebrated the life of another hero – Staff Sgt. George Thomas Alexander Jr.

Alexander, a 1989 graduate of Chilton County High School, was the 2,000th soldier killed in Iraq.

Alexander, who was a member of 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, endured eight tours to the Middle East including serving in Desert Storm.

While serving his ninth tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was wounded by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad Oct. 17.

He was transported to Brooke’s Medical Center in San Antonio where he remained until he died Oct. 22.

On Monday, seven more U.S. service members were killed in bombings in Iraq, according to an AP report.

There are currently 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. During the course of the War on Terrorism, many more have served, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Each time a National Guard unit, or regular military personnel is sent into harm’s way, they are doing so for their country.

Whether or not individuals believe we should be in Iraq doesn’t take away from what these brave men and women are doing.

It takes courage for members of our military to answer that call to duty.

Mark Story made it back safely, and for that we are all grateful.

For those who continue to serve, and for those families who have lost loved ones – like the family of Staff Sgt. Alexander – we must continue to show our support.

Pray for those who are in harm’s way. Offer help to the families that are left behind.

Let these soldiers and their families know how thankful we are that they chose to serve.