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Our View: Operation Farewell -- Play your part come Monday

Soldiers with the Company B, 1-128th Infantry National Guard unit in New Richmond will head out on Monday, Feb. 23.

They will be leaving their families, friends and co-workers to spend a year on active duty with the military.

The unit's initial mission will be to train Iraqi forces in an effort to help them take over the operation and security for a detainee facility in that war-torn country.

While the Company B soldiers know what their job will be when they arrive in Iraq, they don't really know what the upcoming year holds after the initial months in the country.

There are many unknowns for our local soldiers. Will they remain in Iraq for the full 10 months of deployment, or will they be sent to other global hot spots later in the year?

The troops leave western Wisconsin with a mix of emotions -- excitement, sadness, fear and grief.

That's why it's important for each of us to show our support and respect for those who have volunteered to further the cause of freedom around the world.

All you have to do is show up along Knowles Avenue on Monday, Feb. 23, by 1 p.m. to wave at the buses filled with troops as they leave the community. Bring along a flag and a sign expressing your love and support for the Guardsmen and women.

The buses will leave the National Guard Armory on Wall Street and proceed, with a police escort, south on Knowles Avenue toward Interstate 94. We'd like to see a sea of people (and red, white and blue colors) throughout downtown and beyond.

People in Roberts will also get their chance to say goodbye. The buses will travel through that community on Highway 64 a short time later.

Your commitment to shout farewell is only a matter of minutes, but the support we show our departing soldiers will live on in the hearts of those individuals as they head into harm's way.

Take time to participate. It will be a worthwhile investment in boosting the morale of Company B troops.