Some of you may or may not know that March 2014 marks the 11 year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Although I was only 10 years old at the time of the invasion, I do remember it very clearly. By that time my brother already enlisted in the army and was waiting to graduate high school and head to basic training.
My reality was that I knew my brother would be there, and a year later he was in one of the most dangerous cities.
At 10 years old, I didn't really understand what was happening or why we were even there. Just that my brother was leaving and I didn't want him to go.
To me it is really sad that there has been no mention of this date, regardless of where you stand on the war or what political affiliation I think we have to remember these men and women who fought, died and were wounded there.
Over 30,000 US men and women came home injured...there are countless service members with missing limbs or having to relearn basic life skills. Thousands of family members have now given up lives to be come full time care givers.
Over 4,000 troops were killed...Leaving thousands of widows behind...leaving thousands of Gold Star children behind...leaving thousands of Gold Star moms and dads and brothers and sisters.
There are a never ending amount of brain injuries sustained during the war and another large amount of members having PTSD.
Total number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq War 4,487
Total percentage of male U.S. troops killed in the Iraq War 98%
Total percentage of U.S. non-officers that were killed in the Iraq War 82%
Total number of U.S. soldiers wounded in the Iraq War 32,223
Percent of U.S. soldiers wounded with serious brain or spinal injuries 20 %
Total percentage of U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq War who developed serious mental health problems within 4 months of returning home 30 %
Number of U.S. helicopters downed in Iraq War 75
We have thousands of young men and women who have come home and some go back to war in Afghanistan but some have lost their way.
My brother posted a great blog post talking about those who have served and now have to go back to civilian life and how difficult and really impossible it is for some to adjust.
Now that I've gotten all this written out, the point of this post was to talk about the lack of coverage, and I don't mean because the anniversary I mean for these men and women.
What hit me the most from the post my brother shared was the section about having "wasted" lives...I have heard people refer to Iraq and Afghanistan as a waste...but those live lost and the lives still living that wasn't a waste, those are the highlights of my generation. I was 11 years old saying goodbye to my brother with other "men" (not even old enough to drink yet) doing the same thing to all go off to war.
We in America, treat our veterans as a burden...not for what they are. A HERO. If you are willing to strap on those boots and go to wherever you are needed you are a hero.
In America we have pushed them to the back burner and their families too...Wounded Warrior Project says it best with "the greatest casualty is being forgotten"
We have forgotten why we have freedoms...these men and women. So although March is nearly over I think everyone should take time and remember those who are STILL in Afghanistan, remember those who have lost their lives and their families, and remember those who are trying to rejoin society.
Don't let these men and women become forgotten.