Tuesday, May 03, 2011

EDITORIAL >> The challenges that lie ahead

The long road that led to the capture and execution of Osama bin Laden started on the flightline at Little Rock Air Force Base and dozens of other military installations that joined the war against al-Qaida soon after 9/11.

As a grateful nation celebrates the death of one of history’s most notorious criminals, we know that the fight is not over. Little Rock Air Force Base continues its nearly decade-long participation in the war on terror in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Some 1,000 local airmen and several C-130s are on their way to combat zones to fight al-Qaida and eliminate it as a threat.

Sunday’s operation gives them renewed optimism that the war will be won and is worth the sacrifice. What’s more, the community has opened its hearts and its wallets following last week’s tornado that destroyed dozens of homes on base.

The Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council presented a check for $10,000. First Arkansas Bank and Trust gave away $5,000 in gift cards and fed the airmen and their families. Arkansas Federal Credit Union gave away approximately $7,300 in gift cards. Area chambers of commerce are also contributing to the recovery effort. Other organizations, such as the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, Air Force Aid and Little Rock Air Force Base partners, have also offered help. You, too, can help by making donations to the Good Samaritan Fund at First Arkansas Bank and Arkansas Federal Credit Union.

A generous gift will speed the recovery efforts at the base and show the men and women in uniform that their sacrifices are not taken for granted. They are the sentinels of freedom and the messengers of hope.

As we learned Sunday night, the fight against terror goes on every day, one mission and one air drop at a time. The men and women at LRAFB and those around the world work around the clock, usually without fanfare, but their reward is knowing that in this clash of civilizations, they will be the victors.