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Romney lauds National Guard role in world's conflicts

WORCESTER -- Governor Mitt Romney handed out yesterday the first batch of ribbons created to honor the service of Massachusetts National Guard members since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In a ceremony with an honor guard, he called for recognition of sacrifices in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and other hot spots.

''We're all concerned in America today with the high price of gasoline, but I think sometimes we forget about the high price of freedom," Romney said in an armory converted into the state's National Guard Museum.

''There are times when the price of freedom seems to go up, as it did in the great conflict known as the First World War, and then again in the Second World War, and this is another time when the price of freedom is very, very dear indeed."

Romney said the terrorists who struck on 9/11 had a ''Hitlerian mentality." Their goal was to ''bring down the government of the United States and to cause the collapse of an economy."

The governor also discounted some criticism of the Guard stemming from episodes such as the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, acknowledging that mistakes would be made. ''But the cause is just, and the right to defend our homeland is unwavering."

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