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Gold Star daughter: 20 years after 9/11, where do we go from here? – CNN

Her reporting and personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest and Sports Illustrated, among others.

As he grows up with only stories about his grandfather, the man he’ll share a name with, the Forever War will haunt him in ways that, over the past decade, they’ve haunted me.

I was 18 on May 18, 2010, when my father’s convoy was hit by a suicide bomber on the streets of Kabul.

In the months, then years, then decade that followed, I was filled with questions that, no matter where I looked or who I talked to, were never answered.

I’ve read the personal stories from veterans, listened to thoughts on the withdrawal from politicians and military leaders and followed the devastating reports from the ground in Afghanistan.

I was scared and remember worrying about my dad — Giebelstadt Army Airfield went on lockdown and I was nervous he would never be able to come home from work.

By May of 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared, “We have concluded we’re at a point where we clearly have moved from major combat activity to a period of stability and stabilization and reconstruction activities.

As an Army brat, I’d sometimes worry about what it would be like if two soldiers showed up at my front door to give our family heartbreaking news about my dad.

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Though I was almost 4,000 miles away, living in Germany on September 11, 2001, I’ve always felt connected to the day.

But what I can promise him is that, as an American, I won’t sit idly by as the nation I love partakes in another Forever War.

Over the past few weeks of watching horrific scenes unfold in Afghanistan, I’ve often wanted to scream at our country, a country that has largely turned a blind eye to the war and left it to be carried by its one percent, all-volunteer military force.

I don’t know where we go from here, but I do know that if we want to honor the legacies of the nearly 2,400 service members we’ve lost in Afghanistan, we must draw from the lessons learned over the past 20 years.

…Read the full story

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