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British are the kind of partners we want by our side

By Staff | Apr 3, 2009

During the last century, British and American troops stood liberty’s ground shoulder to shoulder. On several occasions here in Iraq, I have had the privilege of continuing that tradition by serving with British service members.

Before arriving in Iraq, I was somewhat familiar with the British military from listening to the experiences of two of my good friends from Shepherdstown, Carol Asam and Cliff Smith, who served in the British armed forces.

Carol served at Gibraltar and Cliff served on submarines.

I would like to pay tribute to the British and American service members who are fighting side by side in the mountains of Afghanistan and in the cities and villages of Iraq, just as our forefathers fought side by side in the sands of North Africa, on the beaches of Normandy and for the bridges over the Rhine.

British and American friendship has been forged over two centuries and is renewed with each generation.

Almost every family in Britain has a connection to America. When a British or American service member is killed in action, the people of Britain and America mourn together. Their loss is our loss; our families’ sorrow is their families’ sorrow.

After that Sept. 11 morning when America was attacked, the Coldstream Guards at Buckingham Palace played the Star Spangled Banner as they grieved for their American friends.

During 2007, I visited the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial site in England. It lies on a slope with the west and south sides framed by woodland. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead; 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing.

This cemetery is a somber reminder that the British will never forget the sacrifice and service of the American service members who gave their lives for the success of liberty.

In fact, there are many cemeteries across Europe that honor the memory of American troops, resting row upon row, often alongside British service members.

Today in the distant lands of Afghanistan and Iraq, British and American service members are standing and sacrificing for the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings.

I can say from my experience here in Iraq, the British are the kind of partners you want by your side when things get serious.

My fellow service members and I honor the idealism and the bravery of the sons and daughters of Britain. America is fortunate to call Britain a friend.

– Tom Maiden lives in Shepherdstown with his wife and four children. He is currently serving in Iraq. When not serving as a “Citizen Sailor” Tom works part-time teaching insurance and financial planning at Shepherd University and owns a financial planning practice in Shepherdstown.