Josefina Sibug gave Gov. Linda Lingle a hug during yesterday's 2003 Governor's Veterans Day Ceremony at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery. Sibug's husband, Rufo Sibug, is a World War II veteran.

Governor praises
troops’ job in Iraq

Lingle likens the duty
to defending freedom
in Korea 50 years ago

The U.S. involvement in Iraq is part of America's history of protecting others' freedom by going to war, Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday.

"It's the same kind of liberation that happened in the second World War and Korea," Lingle said. Her comments were part of her Veterans Day address to about 500 people at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.

Yesterday's ceremonies, which included the singing of the Korean national anthem and a contingent of people from Pusan and Taegu, South Korea, capped state commemoration activities for the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War.

Criticism of the war in Iraq has grown as attacks on U.S. troops intensify. More American soldiers have died since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1 than during the 43 days of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

These Filipino-American World War II veterans, including Mariano Jasmin in foreground, were among the many veterans who saluted during the National Anthem at the 2003 Governor's Veterans Day Ceremony yesterday.

One of the casualties last week included a 43-year-old Army chief warrant officer, Sharon Swartworth, who was on her last mission before retiring to Mililani where her son and husband live.

Early next year, 8,000 soldiers from Schofield Barracks will deploy for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lingle offered her thanks and prayers to the troops.

"Our state will reach out to the families who are left behind, whether the families are from Hawaii or are stationed here in Hawaii," she said.

The governor said criticism of the war in Iraq is the same as at the end of World War II when U.S. troops were dodging sniper fire in Berlin. Lingle said the future view of the Iraq war will mirror how people now view the Korean War.

A U.S. flag waved in the breeze during the ceremonies

"In historic terms, half a century from now, people will look back on it the way they look back on Korea, that we were able to not just save a people as we were able to do in Korea and their way of life, and allow them to become a Democratic nation, but perhaps stop the spread of tyranny to other countries," Lingle said.

The ceremony was one of several events statewide honoring island veterans.

Among those in attendance was retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Allan J. Kellogg Jr., a Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor, who said he agreed with Lingle's remarks.

"Only time's going to tell on what we're doing over there," he said. "Anytime that you go out and you try to set people free to live their own way of life and everything I think it's worth it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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