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Archive for Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sebelius says nation learned to support soldiers after Vietnam War protests

May 30, 2006

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— In honoring fallen members of the military, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said her generation learned an important lesson that even if Americans question or oppose a war, they must stand behind the soldiers who fight it.

Sebelius' generation fought - and protested - the Vietnam War. She touched on its experiences during a 30-minute Memorial Day ceremony at the Statehouse.

"The most important lesson from the era I grew up in is to remember that, as we debate the causes and outcomes of armed conflicts, we must remain united in our resolve to support and honor our troops and their families," Sebelius said.

She added: "One ceremony, one day, one memorial is not enough. We must each day reflect on the freedoms we enjoy because of others' sacrifices."

The governor spoke to about 100 people, including representatives from 13 families of Kansas soldiers killed in the Iraq war. She placed a wreath in front of the Kansas Veterans Memorial on the Statehouse grounds.

The ceremony included a reading of the names of the nearly 100 Kansans and soldiers from Fort Riley who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Our most potent weapon in this current war, as in all our wars, are the brave men and women in uniform who answer the call," said Jack Fowler, chairman of the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs.

Sebelius' comments about the Vietnam War came as some Americans continued to question President Bush's decision to invade Iraq and suggest that the United States needs to set a timetable for removing its troops.

Recalling the Vietnam War, Sebelius said both she and her husband, Gary, had friends who fought and died in the conflict.

"I think there was such a strong feeling about whether the war effort was right or misguided that it was taken out on too many of the soldiers who returned home, hoping to be thanked for their sacrifice," she said. "That was just flat-out wrong."

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