The United States involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq marks our nation’s longest military engagement in history. One would imagine after ten years of fighting the war on terror, America would be a more united nation. However, I have recently uncovered this is quite the contrary. According to former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, “Today’s wars are not something the typical American thinks about every day.” Moreover, in my opinion our nation as a whole is so disconnected with the sacrifices our troops and their families make daily to protect our liberty and to secure our American dream.
This past Monday, we were graced with the presence of the creator of “School Supplies for Afghan Children”, SMSgt (Ret) Rex Temple. During his presentation he shared with the class some of his firsthand experiences while in the military and further illustrated to us how our society turns a blind eye to our men and women in uniform. Furthermore, SMSgt Temple expressed to us that he decided to join the military at a time when our nation desperately needed dedicated soldiers, who were willing to fight and defend what our nation stood for. At this point, SMSgt Temple volunteered to become an Airman in the Air Force; he then went to basic training to develop the skills that were necessary to be an Airman. Additionally, since SMSgt Temple has joined the military, he has deployed to the Middle East alone four times and out of the 30 plus countries he has traveled to; he expressed Afghanistan by far is the most impoverished nation.
While SMSgt Temple was deployed in Afghanistan, he informed us that it was very typical for their society not to have clean running water, having the challenge of driving on unpaved muddy roads, and about 80% of their society is illiterate. The U.S. troops had to teach the Afghan people about proper hygiene, electricity, and as well as provided them with medical care. In a country like Afghanistan where U.S. troops are considered the enemy, SMSgt Temple told us never while traveling in a vehicle you should stop and become stationary; once you stop the vehicle you become an instant target to be attacked by the Taliban’s.
After hearing SMSgt Temple personal account while in Afghanistan it was quite unimaginable to me that the heroes of our society who risk losing their lives daily were the ones being forgotten. I hope it is now much clearer to the American society how we have turned our backs on the very men and women who provide us with freedom and security, by going above and beyond the call of duty to protect our nation from feeling hopeless as the war wages on. With the collecting of school supplies for our U.S. troops to hand out to the Afghan children, we are supporting our troops, which in return is equipping the Afghan children with the knowledge needed to become future leaders of their own country and as a result the US troops will no longer need to have military presence there.
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