My first memory of war was probably when I was about 8 years old or so. I remember sitting in front of the television with my family watching these terrifying, green streaks of bombs explode in night vision. It was the Gulf War ... the first conflict. As a child, I can remember being so scared, thinking those bombs were going to take out those I loved most. I wasn’t worried about myself, not really. I just remember worrying about my family. I didn’t understand that it was on another continent, in a far away land. I thought it was right outside our door.

Fast forward to 2021. We’ve been in wars and conflicts for my entire life. I celebrated my 40th birthday recently. We’ve been in Afghanistan for half my life. I awoke Thursday, like many, shocked at the news that 13 U.S. soldiers and an unknown number of Afghanistan citizens had been killed in an attack at the airport, most trying to escape from the Taliban and Isis rule.

I’m not going to get into politics here because I don’t think that’s truly needed. If you want opinions on that, go to social media. Everyone has one. What I will say is this. I’m sad.

I am sad that we lost American lives and that those families will never get to hug their loved ones again. I’m sad that Afghan lives were also lost. They are people too, many simply caught in the crossfire.

I am sad for our military leaders, our administration that continues to have to make incredibly difficult decisions, ones that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy simply because there isn’t a right move.

I’m sad for our country as a whole because right now in the midst of everything else going on (and heaven knows there is enough to argue about) we have found yet another thing to divide us.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11 I can’t help remember a time when we ALL put aside our differences and simply held one another as a nation. I miss that country.

Moving forward, I simply pray that we would stop fighting, as humans, lay aside our differences and just live and embrace each other. I’m not naive, I know it’s probably never going to happen, but I’m going to pray anyway. You’re welcome to join me if you like.

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— Wyndi Veigel is the editor of The Marshall News Messenger and can be reached via email at wveigel@marshallnewsmessenger.com.