marinesHeartbreaking news out of California's Camp Pendleton this morning. Four Marines have been killed in a mysterious mishap on the camp's range, right here on US soil. The deaths come just days after the nation paused to focus on our veterans and the sacrifices they make for our freedom.

These tragic heroes -- whose names are being kept private as the Corps contacts their individual families -- add another facet to the discussion of what sacrifice and hero means for members of our military.

Going overseas into a warzone is often considered the scariest, most heroic thing a member of our military can do -- and for good reason. War presents unexpected dangers.

Still, that is only one part of what folks like these Marines give up for their country. They give up time with their families. They give up the freedom to pick and choose jobs. And they are often putting themselves in danger right here on United States soil.

These four Marines were working in a range area used for live-fire exercises. The Corps has confirmed their deaths did not occur under live fire, but a spokesman indicated they may "very possibly" have involved unexploded ordnance suddenly detonating.

The very fact that we have four Marines who are dead hammers home how dangerous that job is, even if it isn't in the middle of a warzone.

Just a little something to think about next time you're talking about the heroes in our military.

Our hearts go out to the families of these Marines.

Do you think it's fair to use the word hero here?

 

Image via DVIDSHUB/Flickr