Fallen hero is latest of many from Harford lost to terror [Editorial]

Our world is always at war. In rare times, when it seems it isn't, that only means one war is ending with another about to begin.

The United States declared its war on terror on Sept. 20, 2001 just nine days after the 9/11 attacks on our country when President George W. Bush spoke before a joint session of Congress.

He said: "Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress and fellow Americans, in the normal course of events, presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the union. Tonight, no such report is needed; it has already been delivered by the American people.

"We have seen it in the courage of passengers who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground. Passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me welcome his wife Lisa Beamer here tonight?

"We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion.

"We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

"We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.

"My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of union, and it is strong.

"Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done."

So began, at least officially, the war that continues today.

We are a nation of war. That's easily overlooked in the din of not only a brutal 2016 presidential campaign and the increasing divisiveness in our country, but also the numbness that comes with 15 years of war.

The message that we are a nation at war with too many of our people in harm's way hit home and hit hard in Harford County last weekend when we lost another hero in the War on Terror.

Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, an Edgewood resident and a 1998 Joppatowne High School graduate, died "of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations," according to the Department of Defense.

Staff Sgt. De Alencar, a 37-year-old member of the Army's Special Forces, was working with Afghan troops to fight insurgents affiliated with ISIS when he was killed.

There's a hole in the lives of his wife, another Joppatowne High School graduate, their children, his family and friends that will never be filled.

And there's nothing anyone can say or do to ease the pain of his loss.

With that said, it's still important that we say thanks for his service, we cherish the freedoms his ultimate sacrifice helped protect and that we pray for him, his family and all those whose lives he touched.

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