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Taps for the year that was Amid plans for New Year's partying, take a moment to reflect on sacrifices

No war year should pass without remembrance of sacrifices made. As we usher in a new year and celebrate new possibilities, it is important to remember those who have fallen so that we may celebrate as a free nation.

Western New York has lost roughly two dozen soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan since June 2002. This nation has lost a little more than 2,000 of its troops in Iraq. Every one of those soldiers deserves remembrance, as another war year wanes.

The same, of course, is true of veterans of other wars. The Military Forces Honor Guard at the Masten Avenue Armory in Buffalo, which honors veterans at more than 100 funerals a month, is a significant part of that recognition. And there should be gratitude, too, for those who risked everything on the battlefield though they were fortunate enough to survive and continue contributing to this country.

Memorial Day is set aside as the national day of remembrance, but with American blood still being shed almost daily in Iraq, this final day of 2005 should not slip into history without a final tear for those who gave the ultimate service to their country in 2005 and will not journey with us into 2006. Godspeed to them all. Like all who fell in the cause of freedom, they gave us this year, and the next, and all the years of this republic.

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