(CNN) - On this Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to spend some time talking about the approximately 140,000 U.S. troops still serving in Iraq. They may not necessarily be in the news all that much right now, given the high interest in the race for the White House, but I think about them a lot. Maybe, it’s because I used to be CNN’s military affairs correspondent at the Pentagon.
I also think about their families here at home. Some of those troops are now serving their second and even third tours of duty there.
I spoke about it with Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, the commander of U.S. and multi-national forces in the northern part of Iraq. I taped an interview with him from Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown north of Baghdad. The interview will air Sunday on Late Edition at 11 a.m. ET.
Gen. Hertling has certainly sacrificed for our country. This is his second tour of duty there. He has two sons in the military who also have served in Iraq. He also has a daughter-in-law who served in Iraq. He clearly speaks with authority on this subject.
So when he noted that he had just come from a memorial service for a soldier who had been killed in Iraq, I paid special attention to what he had to say. He told the troops at the service that many Americans back home on this Friday were thinking of ways to leave work early to start their long Memorial Day weekend. The men and women serving in Iraq have no such luxury. They are still busy fighting a war. He makes a good point.
Whether you agree or disagree with this war, this is a good time for all of us to remember what those troops are doing, to honor their service and to pray for their safe return home.