There is a war against terrorism — vicious, murderous, disastrous terrorism — being fought on the other side of the world.

One of our own has come home to remind us about it.

Today, we give a final salute to U.S. Army Spc. Troy Orion Tom of Beclabito, a 2006 Aztec High School graduate who was killed last week while serving our nation in Afghanistan.

Tom will be remembered at a 10 a.m. service in the Farmington Civic Center and then with full military honors with interment at Greenlawn Cemetery.

It is critically important that we as a community and we as a nation remember not just Tom for his bravery, dedication and sacrifice, but also for his mission: defeating terrorism and protecting American freedom.

Too many forget too easily that we are at war with evil forces determined to destroy the United States or seriously harm our interests.

Thousands of brave men and women serve in harm's way while fighting that war in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other hot spots worldwide.

Ironically, Tom's death was reported at about the same time as another front-page story about another local military hero.

Telesforo "Archie" Archuleta also died last week, and he also was a brave soldier who fought to defend us.

Archuleta was born Nov. 5, 1914, on a ranch near Blanco, and he served during World War II. He survived the infamous Bataan Death March and 40 months as a prisoner of war.

Many more local heroes served before these two men.


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Yet these two deaths last week and the military honors accompanying their services remind us that every time we see that American flag, whether high on the poll flapping proudly in the wind or quiet in the solemn still while covering a coffin, we have much over which to say thanks.

New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish ordered flags throughout the state to be flown at half mast today through Thursday in memory of Spc. Troy Orion Tom.

Notice it. Remember why.

Freedom doesn't come cheap.

A local boy is back home today to remind us.