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At time of tragedy, honor American troops

Everyone should unite in taking a moment to acknowledge the contributions of the brave members of the military throughout the war.

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, center, the commander of U.S. Central Command, meets with U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan-Forward, at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan last week.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, center, the commander of U.S. Central Command, meets with U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan-Forward, at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan last week.
Capt. William Urban/U.S. Navy via AP

Let’s take a moment, while we mourn the most recent casualties, to honor the brave work members of America’s military are doing in Afghanistan, and what they have been doing for years.

On Thursday, at least 13 U.S. service members were killed in two bombing attacks outside the airport in Kabul, along with dozens of civilians who were killed or injured. More than 15 service members were wounded.

Some people, no doubt, will say the moment proves the Biden administration is botching the close of the war. Others will say it shows why the risk of staying in the country after 20 years and more than 2,400 troops killed is too high. It is a fair matter for debate.

But everyone should unite in taking a moment to acknowledge the contributions of the brave members of the military throughout the war.

As President Joe Biden said Thursday, those who fell were heroes who were engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others. He was right to call them “the backbone of America” and the “best America has to offer.”

Most recently, the military has been conducting evacuations following the fall of the Afghan government. As of Thursday, 95,700 civilians had escaped the turmoil of the country in one of the largest airlifts in history. They were able to do so only because the American military and its allies provided security at the airport.

For 20 years, our servicemen and servicewomen have staunchly done their jobs with blood and sweat in a dangerous country as political strategies evolved and changed. They have endured long, punishing deployments away from family and under a cloud of danger. Many returned home with life-altering injuries or will never return home at all. They nobly sacrificed during America’s longest war to bring hope to a long-suffering nation. But some troops felt America had stopped paying attention to the conflict and their efforts. They did not get the many parades that followed some other wars.

No matter how the last chapter of the Afghanistan war turns out, they and their families deserve our deepest gratitude.

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