In the past I've also quoted the cost in dollars of the National Debt each of us will bear. It's a figure that has grown to more than $30,000 per person to date.
But the real number that matters most to me today is 5,623, the number of men and women who have died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Today a motorcade carried the body of Staff Sgt. Derek J. Farley through Nassau, N.Y. -- his hometown and mine.
He died on Aug. 17 at Bala Boluk, Farah, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when a makeshift bomb that he was attempting to disarm detonated.
As an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician and as a soldier, he was, in no uncertain terms, a hero.
As the procession of cars and motorcycles and emergency vehicles passed by the corner where I grew up, I could only think of my children. And how all these men and women aren't just someone else's children, they're ours, too.
It can't be wrong to want the fighting to end, and for all our children to come home safely.