Many Americans go to work every day with the expectation of coming home at a reasonable hour, eating supper, lounging around and sinking into a warm bed when their eyelids grow heavy. They get up in the morning and do just about the same things, most days.
Service members often put themselves in harm's way in an effort to let citizens keep that expectation. On most days, citizens don't think about safety when they get up and attend to their routines.
Military men and women serving abroad and at home face dangers. Soldiers in war situations, responding to emergencies and even in training are exposed to risk and harm.
Unfortunately, the community and country was reminded of this loud and clear with the news of a helicopter crash at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington recently.
Capt. Anne Rockeman Montgomery was among four soldiers killed in the accident that evening involving two helicopters. The former McKenzie County resident has family and friends scattered across the country and world, including in Richardton.
Army officials say the helicopters crashed during a routine night training flight.
Colorado native Chief Warrant Officer Three Frank A. Buoniconti, 36; Alaska native Chief Warrant Officer Three Joseph S. Satterfield, 32; and Alabama native Chief Warrant Officer Two Lucas Daniel Sigfrid, 32, also died in the incident, according to a press release.
We were also reminded of the toll war wreaks on service members and their loved ones.
It took 45 minutes recently to declare an end to the war in Iraq with a ceremony at Baghdad International Airport -- about nine years after the U.S. first stepped into the country.
More than 100,000 Iraqis, including civilians, died in this war. Let's never forget that it killed 4,487 Americans, by the Pentagon's count.
The conflict left 32,000 Americans and far more Iraqis wounded, drained more than $800 billion from the U.S. treasury and diverted resources from Afghanistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaida rebounded after their defeat in a 2001 invasion.
Seeing troops leave Iraq after nearly a decade is encouraging, and will mean more lives saved. Now it's time to get our people out of Afghanistan.