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The Iraq war is not over

Minnesota last week received both a proud and solemn reminder the war in Iraq is far from over. More than 1,000 soldiers from the famed and honored 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard -- the Red Bulls -- will leave by Feb. 13 and spend a year serving in Iraq.

It's a proud reminder because the military has a big job and it tapped these 1,037 soldiers to make sure it is accomplished. The Red Bulls will command coalition forces numbering about 16,000 in a third of Iraq.

Yet it's solemn because these soldiers are our family, friends and neighbors. It seems like just yesterday many of them returned from almost two years there. And, well, Iraq remains a dangerous place.

With that top of mind and the holidays close behind, we urge all central Minnesotans whose freedom rests on the shoulders of these brave soldiers to support them and their families.

There are a number of ways to do that, few better and none more timely than personally thanking these soldiers and their families when you see them before deployment.

Another way to offer support is through regular contact with the families of soldiers during the entire deployment.

Finally, begin thinking now about how your business can apply the skills Guard members will have honed by the time they return in February 2010. -- Fergus Falls Daily Journal