Six stories of battle, loss, hope and the need to end America’s endless wars
Our nation passed a sobering anniversary this year — we are now in our 20th year of war in Afghanistan. Deployments and engagements continue to rage in the country, as well as in Iraq, Syria, Somalia and other countries, putting our troops in danger every day.
Veterans and their family members offer a unique point of view on war and foreign policy. They have seen battle, lost friends and family, and have to live every day with the results of foreign policy decisions.
As part of CVA’s End Endless Wars efforts, we’ve asked veterans and military families to share their stories and perspectives on U.S. foreign policy. Though their experiences and challenges are different, their conclusions are the same – it’s time to end our nation’s endless wars.
- Army veteran Sam Rogers deployed to Afghanistan three times, as both soldier and civilian. His first deployment showed him the reality of war as his unit saw 40 soldiers killed and 300 more wounded. But his return proved that struggles follow our troops home from combat and are only exacerbated by years of endless war. Read the rest of Sam’s story.
- One of the many unintended consequences of our years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan is that many troops bring the battle home. Substance abuse, mental health struggles, and suicide have become commonplace for America’s veterans. Jacquelyne Wesch shared her experiences watching her child’s father, a veteran of the war in Iraq, face these struggles and, in her words, “surviv[ing] the war but not the homecoming.” Read the rest of Jacquelyne’s story.
- For those veterans who have come out on the other side of the battle to transition to civilian life, the time spent overseas is worth reflection. Former Army medic Danny Medoff looks back at his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with mixed feelings. Read the rest of Danny’s story.
- 2020 marked 19 years since the attacks of September 11. That anniversary always brings back memories for veteran John Byrnes, who spent two weeks as a first responder at Ground Zero and later deployed to Afghanistan. Seeing the devastation of 9/11 firsthand, John knew our country needed to respond, but he didn’t think that response would outlast his military career. Read the rest of John’s story.
- We’ve been at war for so long, we’ve nearly forgotten how much can happen in 19 years. Our CVA’s staff shared just what two decades of war has looked like in their own lives, from deployments all over the world, to becoming parents and grandparents, to barely remembering a time the U.S. was not at war. Read the rest of their stories.
- The effects of war are felt not just by our troops, but also by the families who remain here at home. Army veteran and Gold Star husband Joe Kent started sharing his wife Shannon’s story after she was killed in Syria on her fifth deployment. His story and experiences as both a soldier and a military spouse have helped shape his opinions about our country’s foreign policy. Read the rest of Joe’s story.
Veterans and their families are ready to end America’s endless wars. Will you join them in that fight?