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Rest in peace, Spc. Kevin O. Hill [1986-2009]

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If you love freedom, thank a vet.

The sentiment should not be ignored, nor dismissed, at a critical time in our history when life should be eclipsed by the deaths of brave patriots who have made the supreme sacrifice to uphold truth, liberty and justice.

While the rest of us work, play and rest in civilization’s grandest cradle, our fellow nationals are pressing flesh %u2013 every second of every minute of every day of every week of every month of every year %u2013 with enemy fire, landmines, ambushes and other hostilities in treacherous, far-flung lands with hellish terrains and Free World-hating barbarians running evilly amok.

Last week, the year’s deadliest assault killed eight US soldiers near the Pakistani border.

When one of our own falls in the line of duty, the sorrow is deep, the gratitude infinite and the legacy gilded with a sobering reminder of their forfeiture.

Such grace will enrich the memory of Brooklyn hero Spc. Kevin O. Hill, 23, who succumbed to enemy fire after his outpost in Afghanistan was attacked, October 4. The dauntless Bushwick resident, who had joined the Army a year ago, possessed the value which set him apart from others %u2013 he was willing to defend freedom, no matter the cost; an admirable trait he, clearly, learned at the knee of his father, Oslen Hill, who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The tender years of Spc. Hill, who lived at Fort Bragg as a child, belied what must have been perilous, agonizing and jading experiences for him on the frontlines %u2013 first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan %u2013 as a combat engineer assigned to the 576th Mobility Augmentation Company from Fort Carson, Colorado. Typically, a combat engineer’s work includes building and breaching trenches, tank traps and other fortifications in addition to constructing bunkers, bridges and roads, laying or detonating landmines and performing general engineering tasks with acute precision %u2013 all amid the bedlam of war.

Described as a low-key person, who enjoyed video games and visiting the Brooklyn Museum, Spc. Hill exemplified the crusading spirit which elevates the rank and file to extraordinary levels of public service.

A slim source of comfort for his heartbroken relatives, who had spoken to their loved one via telephone only days earlier, is that his laudable efforts did not %u2013 and will not %u2013 go unrecognized. The soldier’s meritorious service had earned him a plethora of awards, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Tragically, the Hill family’s bereavement is compounded by the terrible knowledge that their son and sibling is the 869th US military fatality in the War in Afghanistan since the offensive was mounted on October 7, 2001 in response to the 9-11 terror attacks.

Our beholden society can never repay %u2013 nor hope to match %u2013 the courage, sweat and blood of civilians-turned-warriors, such as Spc. Kevin Hill. Their noble yield in the face of unspeakable horrors will be hailed with pomp-filled glory for years to come.

sabruzzo@cng.local.com.

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