Valdosta Daily Times

June 27, 2013

Godspeed to the 823rd

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — When we see them walking in uniform amongst us, we may thank our military men and women. We let them step in front of us in line, or we buy their meal, if we’re thinking, if we’re not in too much of a rush, but often, even when our intentions are good, we still forget.

We place stickers advocating our Armed Forces on our cars, without really thinking of the meaning behind the words, “We Support Our Troops.” We’ve seen these stickers for so long that we now see them without really seeing them at all, and still we forget.

Yet, today, we should remember that men and women are still serving our nation, still leaving families behind, still traveling overseas to defend our country.

This morning, if the schedule remains as planned, approximately 160 members of Moody Air Force Base’s 823rd Base Defense Squadron deploy overseas.

“Airmen of the 823rd BDS, a unit with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing, provide fully integrated, highly capable and responsive forces to protect Air Expeditionary Forces around the globe at a moment’s notice,” according to Moody Air Force Base.

These are our fellow Americans. While stationed at Moody, they are also our neighbors. Too often, we forget that. We forget that members of our own community are still making the sacrifices to fulfill their sworn pledges of duty, risking all to keep our nation safe.

While they are away, their families will celebrate birthdays without them, their children will grow a few inches taller without them, their spouses will manage the jobs of mother and father without them.

And these families will never once stop worrying for their uniformed loved one overseas. Their families will never forget, not for a moment, where their loved ones are and what they are doing.

Nor should we.

One-hundred-and-sixty Americans will leave these United States. One-hundred-and-sixty of what makes our nation and our community great have left South Georgia. As a nation and a community, we are diminished in their absence, but we are ennobled by their sacrifice.

That’s something we should all remember.