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A Father's Day Card to Peacekeeping

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This Father's Day, dads from every state in the nation, every political party, every religious affiliation and every race will share something in common. We're united in our love for our children. As we celebrate, perhaps there is one additional area in which we can find common ground: thanking those who protect our kids' safety every day, even from far away.

From our U.S. troops who are proudly and bravely serving abroad, to United Nations peacekeepers who are also protecting our national security interests overseas, I know that my family is safer because of their sacrifices. All those who are putting boots on the ground -- many of them fathers themselves -- are working toward a vision of a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for the next generation. And as parents seeking to safeguard our kids, they are well deserving of our support.

For UN peacekeepers, that work is not always something we see making headlines or discuss at the dinner table, but it does help us sleep soundly at night. It involves tasks like reforming judicial systems, training local law enforcement and disarming and reintegrating former combatants. It includes shielding women and children from brutality and enabling new democratic societies to elect a president that will serve their interests fairly. Their tasks are the building blocks that allow societies to create a foundation of peace and end violence that could otherwise spill over borders.

And their efforts also ease the burden on U.S. troops abroad. The U.S. cannot promote international security alone, nor should it have to. Rather, UN peacekeeping draws upon the economic and human resources of other UN Member States, deploying the second largest military force in the world for 12 cents on the U.S. dollar, reducing the need for unilateral intervention.

Yet peacekeepers' work comes at great peril. Just a week ago, during a routine patrol in the southwest border of Côte D'Ivoire, armed assailants killed seven peacekeepers and eight civilians. Their tragic losses compound those of more than 3,000 peacekeepers who have perished in service since the UN's first peacekeeping mission in 1948. Can we even count how many fathers and children have been left to mourn?

Today -- especially on Father's Day -- their pain does not go unnoticed. As I look at my two sons and count the innumerable blessings they have brought to my life, I cannot help but be reminded of these families who will not be together on Sunday. Many will be apart because of loved ones courageously serving abroad and many because we have lost such dedicated public servants in the line of duty. Yet, I will also be grateful for the peace that their sacrifices have enabled.

Fathers across our nation, from every walk of life will agree -- we would go to any length to protect our children. As we sign our cards to our fathers, grandfathers, fathers-in-law and even dads-to-be, let's all sign one more. Let's sign a card to those fathers who are peacekeepers, striving to create a safer world for all our children.