There's nothing like a war to help put things in perspective. Remember how the nation felt after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks? We were reminded of what's really important.
And as U.S. troops battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, so we are once again.
It's unfortunate that it takes a disaster to jar us to the realization that what matters most is each other. It's not the stuff we have. Or our jobs. Or our being right about this issue or that one. It's our family, our friends, our community.
Despite our differences of opinion on the rightness or wrongness of this war, despite our different political party affiliations, despite our different world views, it's important that we support each other during this time of crisis.
It's also important to remember those in the military are not nameless numbers. They have families some of them here on the Kenai Peninsula. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they await the safe return of their loved ones.
As we think about U.S. military action in a far-away place, here are a variety of voices to feed our reflections:
It's a relief we can finally go. Standing by is the hardest thing to do. It is time to put our training to the test.''
Spc. Robert McDougal, 21, of Paris, Texas, as the 101st Airborne Division broke camp
There's no question we've sent the finest of our citizens into harm's way. They performed with great skill and great bravery. ... We appreciate their sacrifice.''
President George Bush
Bush, Bush, listen carefully. We all love Saddam Hussein.''
Hamad Abdullah, one of six family members hospitalized with shrapnel wounds following U.S. strikes on Baghdad
The threat of terrorism is a fact. The world bears the joint responsibility and should show solidarity in fighting terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.''
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, whose country backs Bush's decision
The wrong decision has been taken. The war has begun. It must be ended as quickly as possible.''
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
I haven't had one disgruntled person today. I think people realize we're back at war again.''
Gerry Fiola, a Port of Seattle patrol officer manning a security checkpoint on the road leading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
We are all Muslims and should go to Iraq for jihad. We should be ready to sacrifice our life for our religion.''
Pakistani Nadeem Ahmed
I'd like to see it over and done with as quickly as possible. My ideal scenario would be to see all the Iraqi troops just surrender.''
Peter Ryan in London
"America, which has the most deadly weapons the world has ever seen, is accusing another country of having weapons of mass destruction and wants to disarm it. It's sheer hypocrisy.''
Lilian Achor in Lagos, Nigeria
A stubborn sore needs a drastic cure. George Bush was made to deal with ruthless people like Saddam.''
Moses Lehploe, a university student in Monrovia, the capital of war-riven Liberia
The days of the Saddam Hussein regime are numbered.''
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
I hope it ends quickly. I hope there aren't many lives lost and I hope that everyone understands that George W. Bush has done a good job by proving Saddam Hussein has been lying.''
Scott Casey, an Oklahoma City mortgage broker
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