The events unfolding in Afghanistan take Vietnam War veterans back to 1975, when that country fell quickly, in just 55-days. The fall of this country, in which we invested so much blood and gold over the past 20-years, has fallen even faster. 11-days!
One Vietnam veteran I emailed said it had reignited his PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). We can only imagine what it has done to veterans who served there, some with multiple tours of duty, and who sacrificed so very much. Their families also made sacrifices in their absence, while they were deployed. Over 2,400 made the ultimate sacrifice, which affected thousands more.
Even before these latest events, PTSD and suicides were running rampant among our military veterans, and it’s both shocking and sad to read those sorts of updates in publications like VFW Magazine. The war isn’t over for many after they leave the war zone, it stays with them for life.
Scars remain where wars are fought, on both civilian populations and the landscapes. You need look no further than the Vietnam War Agent Orange legacy. I’ve always felt that one of Mark Twain’s most powerful pieces is THE WAR PRAYER (PDF), since it reveals so much.
To those veterans who might be reading this, thank you for your service and sacrifice, and thank you to those families who also sacrificed so very much.
Statistics (approximate) for the United States’ longest war in Afghanistan (source)