On May 5, Navy SEAL and Maine native Kyle Milliken of Falmouth gave his life in service to the United States while on a mission in Somalia.

As an American citizen, I join the swell of voices offering condolences to his family and friends, and gratitude to him for his valor. As a former refugee from the ongoing war in Somalia, my heart is particularly heavy. I regret that I cannot do more in the aftermath of this tragedy than express my deep sadness.

While you cannot hear from the Somalis who remain trapped by the ongoing violence, I hope you will know the respect and appreciation they have for the sacrifices made by American troops who are working to restore peace. I know that I speak for countless Somalis in the United States and citizens of Somalia alike when I pay reverence to Kyle Milliken with lasting respect and immeasurable appreciation.

Rilwan Osman

executive director, Maine Immigrant & Refugee Services