Not a new phrase, and not the first time you’ve heard it, I’m sure. If you’re a Vietnam Vet, this has been on your mind for weeks as you anticipated the withdrawal, remembering the scenes from your war. If you’re an Iraq or Afghanistan Vet, it’s an added weight. One you didn’t ask for or need.
I can tell you this: we are all carrying this weight, Vets, families and loved ones of Vets, colleagues, co-workers, school acquaintances. It’s hard to imagine a person who is not touched in some way by watching this most recent, longest war wind down to its last moments—that last troop making his way across the tarmac to board the flight out of Afghanistan. In the preceding days, the loss of thirteen active duty service men and women in the attack at the Kabul airport, struck all of us. Ten of them were from Camp Pendleton less than a hundred miles away. I know the men and women they trained with and served with are trying, as we all are, to make sense of their loss.
War and its aftermath are isolating. The National Veterans Foundation came into being in circumstances like this. Born of the conviction that Veterans needed a way to process their experiences with someone who could understand, the NVF is still here 35 years later, still listening on our vet-to-vet Lifeline for Vets.
In these somber days, we urge all Vets to reach out to comrades and buddies to check-in, to listen to each other, and to take care of themselves. We can help. Call us at 888.777.4443.
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The worst part of war should not be coming home.