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Hero must be remembered

War is easy to overlook or forget about when it is thousands of miles away in foreign lands most Americans will never see.

It is much harder when its impact takes on the smiling face of 23-year-old Justin Bradley Allen from Coal Grove.

The young man was killed in the line of duty last week in Afghanistan, sending an emotional wave through the community that knew and loved the young man.

Men and women like Allen are the ones who make this country the great nation that it is and fight for the freedoms that many of us take for granted. Allen made the ultimate sacrifice and should be remembered as a hero.

Far too often, America’s young people are viewed through negative stereotypes and as a generation that is more interested in personal gratification and selfish interests.

Although that may be true for some, we must never let these misconceptions and stereotypes blind us to the youth like Allen who embody many of the characteristics to which each of us should strive.

But it isn’t just the soldiers who are making a sacrifice. Their families also should be commended for what they do to support those on the frontlines in the battle for freedom.

Regardless of our individual positions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, every American should make an extra effort to honor our soldiers in all branches of the armed services.

Freedom certainly isn’t free and its high price is paid by proud Americans who put country above self.