September 17th, 2009
06:40 PM ET

Soldier: “Do they realize we're still over here?"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/17/cnn.team.with.rescue.medic.jpg]

Danielle Dellorto
CNN Medical Producer

I remember shuffling through moondust up to my knees in Helmand Province when a U.S. Army combat medic turned to me and said, “If I ask you something, do you promise you’ll be honest?” I nodded yes. “Do people back home still think about us? Do they realize we’re still over here?”

I’ll never forget that moment.

Truth is, while most of America might know that 62,000 U.S. military personnel are in theater, they apparently aren’t happy about it. A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll found that support of the war in Afghanistan has hit a new low. Only 39 percent favor U.S. military action in Afghanistan.

But does supporting the overall mission go hand-in-hand with supporting the troops?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I recently embedded with U.S. Army combat medics in Afghanistan. I slept where they slept, ate what they ate, and followed them day in and day out. Their job is to rescue and triage injured soldiers at a moment’s notice. They are always ready. They even sleep with their shoes on.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that these soldiers were no different from the factory worker in middle America. Both work tirelessly in their jobs, both want to succeed, both want to provide for their families. And despite the echoes of mortar fire over their shoulders, extreme heat and no communication with loved ones – I never heard the soldiers complain. I watched the medics save countless lives: sons and daughters, husband and wives from all around the world. Why? It’s their job.

So as I looked in the eyes of that U.S. soldier – the one who feared America might have forgotten about him – I realized my job is to not only report on the medical military operations but also to highlight the courageous stories of those risking their own lives to save others in Afghanistan.

I am back home now…and yes, I still think about them.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • Dr. Sanjay Gupta
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Seth in Nangarhar Province, AFG

    Great article. Its nice to know that good reporting still exists. Most of the news reports I see do not contain any of the reality on the ground. My hats off to CNN for this one, however. What most people should realize is that we are fighting this war in Afghanistan because the gov't of Afghanistan in 2001 (the Taliban) actively supported and harbored the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, who is responsible for over 2,000 American deaths in the attacks of 9.11.2001. Given the chance, these extremists would facilitate more attacks, until they've killed enough freedom loving people to assert their perverted view of reality on the rest of us. Its nice to know that we aren't forgotten, but we must not forget why we are here. I wake up every day in Afghanistan, and I know why I do what I do. Does the rest of the American public know why we are here? Sometimes I wonder.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  2. Lisa in ATL

    My son is a us soldier, now stateside but will be going back again soon. I'm so sorry that these guys and gals ever would think that they are forgotten, My husband and I had over a year of being afraid every day. Geting a call from our son about losing friends, our computer ringing at 4AM because he can sign on, coludn't see him but could im.I give to the US to help their efforts with calling cards and things. Sending care packages to them with books magazines or whatever is a good way to get started. any military website or uso can give you the info.I support our troops and admire their sacrifice maybe some more visits from performers and celebrities that were there in the beginning but not now. I will tell everyone i can about this and to remember our sons,daughters,husbands, wives and everyone that sacrifices. GBA

    September 18, 2009 at 12:34 am |
  3. Jake, McKenzie, TN

    As a retired military member, it does my heart good to see that people have finally woken up and realized that the soldier does not choose the war. The soldier goes to war because it is his job and he had sworn an oath of honor to follow the orders given him. If we had had the choice in Vietnam, would we have gone half way around the world to live in squalid conditions, contract diseases like Malaria, and then come home to be spit on in the airports? No. I for one would have said, "Thanks, but I'll take this job over here."

    But we were (and are) men and women of our word, serving our country in its endeavors, wherever and whatever the need may be. Sometimes we luck out and it's a time of peace. Other times, well, we have seen what other times are like too. But believe me, whether we're in a peaceful assignment or in harm's way, YOU are always on OUR minds... please remember the soldier as well. He's often tired, hungry and lonely, even amongst his buddies. And he wants to come home. He'll stay and do his job, but I've yet to see ANYONE turn down a seat on the freedom bird.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  4. Wilson Ray

    Interesting question from the soldier as to whether we remember them. I spent my war time in Vietnam killing the enemy. Except for my family, I don't remember ever wondering about the folks back home. I was too busy trying to keep my fellow soldiers alive and they were doing the same for me. But, we do think of you, my friend, and we pray that you will return home safely to your family and friends.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  5. Army Mom

    Please let let the Army Medic know that we have not forgotten, he is being prayed for by millions of Americians daily and that my son has joined the Army to help him get back sooner.

    We are so proud of you all!

    September 18, 2009 at 12:20 am |
  6. David

    I cannot fathom why people do not support this war, the one that is just. Not Iraq! The one we fight because we were attacked and nearly three thousand people died. If we would have put the effort in Afghanastan that we put into Iraq, we would have them home. I just do not understand why Americans are against this war, when the very person we are attempting to capture and kill is still out there. This war should not be over until this man and Al Quedia/Taliban are gone. Of course, these soccer moms over here are permitted to be out of their homes during the day and show their faces. So nice when the comfort of America is taken for granted, troops forgoten and reasons we fight ar elost. You, my American friends, are short sited, small minded, and have no courage to end what they started. I say increase troops another 40k and you'll have this war over in another year.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:20 am |
  7. Chris

    We don't want to hear about how you're confused about the mission, about how great of a job you think we are doing. "We support the troops but we don't support the war." THE WAR IS THE TROOPS! We are the ones getting shot at. We are the one's eating cold food in a hot truck with flies buzzing us and the constant smell of human waste because some people can't seem to figure out how to dig a hole first. While you stagger over the decision whether to dine in or take out, we might get taken out. So, save your self-righteousness and your pity. We don't want that. You want to show your support? Donate to your local USO. Or, better yet, volunteer for them. Those people work hard for no pay. Send a care package to a random soldier. Mail can change morale really quickly. Next time you are struggling with the idea of the "mission", think about the soldier who hasn't slept in 24 hours. Think about the soldier who has never even seen his own child. Think about your best friend, and then imagine holding him while he is bleeding out from a chest wound. Or is that too graphic for you? This is all for you America. We do it because no one else will. Forget about us? You better not.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  8. Erin

    A good friend died serving in Iraq 2 years ago. I have not forgotten him, nor have I forgotten those who still serve our country. While I may not support the war in Iraq, I support each and every soldier and pray for their return as soon as possible.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:13 am |
  9. Mike in Enfield, CT

    I really appreciate articles such as this that show more of what the troops are going through. Going through our daily lives may make it difficult to keep them in mind. There are probably quite a few people out there who may have been kind of spoiled with the coverage during Desert Storm showing bombs going through windows and doors and thinking that really isn't bad. However war involves soldiers and marines on the ground, going house-to-house and fighting in difficult conditions, to complete a mission or objective. During the course of the mission, unfortunately, people end up giving their all to its completion. As long as stories such as this continue people will not, and should not, forget those that are "over there".

    September 18, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  10. Caroline

    It is incredibly sad that these men and women, in the midst of everything else they are dealing with, also have worries like this.

    I work with an amazing organization that connects civilians and deployed soldiers through letter-writing and care packages. The goal is to make sure that every soldier knows that he or she is loved and cared about, even while they're serving far overseas.

    I encourage anyone to get involved with an organization like this! There are many out there, and you can commit as little or as much time and energy as you have available. And it's at least a small gesture to remind them that we have NOT forgotten them, and are eternally grateful for their sacrifice.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  11. MJ in Boston

    I definitely think about our troops in Afganistan. Recently, I've been helping to greet incoming and outgoing troops in the Bangor International Airport with my grandfather who is a WWII veteran. This experience has inspired me to look into signing up with the national guard.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  12. foxdoc

    I spent nearly 6 years as a Combat Medic in the U.S. Army, and over 2 years abroad on combat deployments. It is amazing to me that such simple commentary can make me feel so good. It is also funny to me that it would be a fellow medic who thought to ask the question. In my brief experience, I found no soldier enlisted or commissioned that rivaled the Combat Medic for inquisitiveness.

    Also, while it is always important to voice our opinions on both sides. We should remember, that no person, regardless of their title would feel justified in their actions, proud of their service or even appreciated to hear or read things like "...waste of human lives etc. etc.... but I will always support the troops. "

    September 18, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  13. Kevin

    Thank you to everyone who commented on how they support the military and remember them. As a veteran I too say thank you to all of them who came before me and those who will replace me.

    But please also remember remember the families that are left at home while the Soldiers are deployed. That 18 year old newly married wife who is now on her own for a year in a new duty station. That hometown mom and dad who is proud of their son or daughter just hoping they come home.

    Dont just remember act, get involved, attend a military event or at least shake the hand of the next vet you see. It does make a difference.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  14. Prof. Scott

    Hello, All of the comments about this wonderful commentary are on the money. Yes, we can disagree about the rightness or wrongness of waging war. We can be doomed to repeat the past when returning troops are not properly deprogrammed from being killing machines to being factory workers, good husbands, wives, and worthy parents. My deceased spouse was a Viet Nam era vet and returned with what i now thinks was monstrous PTSS that jumped throughout the family like an infectious disease. I hope a study is done on families of returning Vets to determine the extent of damages from both perspectives. As one widow directly affected by the vagaries of war, 40+ years later, I can say with conviction that war is a really bad habit . It can only be changed when the good citizens decide their leadership must truly behave as mature humans with the best interests for the many as uppermost in their lists of concerns. All participants, from leaderhsip to followership must be empowered to represent and enact the will of the people with effectiveness, efficiency, and compassion for all humans and living things. What do you think?

    September 18, 2009 at 12:05 am |
  15. Buck Cameron

    Yes, we do think about them. Whatever we think about the mission, we know that they put everything on the line. They are not expendable. If there is – as I think there is- a critical reason for them to be there, we need to be damn sure that what they do and what they sacrifice is necessary to serve that need. Long ago I watched young men die in battle without seeing any sufficient reason for it. Our leaders should be able to look everyone of these people in the eye and honestly tell them why they are being asked to do so much. If we can't do that they should be home.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  16. Rebekah Bennett

    Not a day goes by that I forget. It is a part of the life that I live every day. Be strong guys! We are still praying! God will be your strength!

    September 18, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  17. Blessed!

    As a mother of a son and daughter that were both in the service, a daughter in the Navy and a son currently serving in Iraq. I pray for them everyday and read everything I can to understand why they have to be there, wheather I understand or not they decided on their own to serve and have to be nothing but proud. I wish they were home enjoying everything America has to offer but like my son say's someone has to do it, so it just happens to be him. Our church has been great and sends packages to him to share, cookies and other goodies so I know he and his buddies are thought of here in our little part of america.


    September 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  18. Melissa Burdette

    Every day!!! Just as I sign my letters to my daughter and husband, I send the same to all the brave women and men..

    Miss you
    Love you
    Be safe
    Hurry home!!!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  19. susan

    Not a day goes by when I say a prayer and think, if only for a few minutes, about all the men and women still over there and in parts of the world unknown fighting for reasons most of us have forgotten. I do this because I am one of the lucky ones who got my own son back and out of the navy a few years ago, when it was bad enough but not as bad as it is now. I agree that it is a losing battle at times but you are none the less doing the right thing. My family at least is very proud of you and will continue to keep you all in our prayers.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  20. rene

    I always think about our soldier in every part of the world. We need to pray for them and their families. I hope they come back soon. God bless all of them. God blees America

    September 17, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  21. Mom of a Marine

    I am the wife of retired Air Force husband... 27 years. I am the mother of a Marine who has been in for 8 years. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of my son (in Afghanistan as I speak and all of the Marines and soldiers who are in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places that the general public has no idea exist. I have lived thru Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and now Afghanistan. I think about you and pray for you each night. I will never forget those who have given their lives. I rise at 5am every morning and the first thing I do is check the world news for Afghanistan and Iraq. I grieve everytime there is a lose of life like it was my own child. I will never stop thinking of you nor will I forget the sacrifices you are making.
    No one deserves to be an American more than you. God Bless you.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  22. Blessed!

    As a mother of a son and daughter that were both in the service, a daughter in the Navy and a son currently serving in Iraq. I pray for them everyday and read everything I can to understand why they have to be there, wheather I understand or not they decided on their own to serve and have to be nothing but proud. I wish they were home enjoying everything America has to offer but like my son say's someone has to do it, so it just happens to be him. Our church has been great and sends packages to him to share, cookies and other goodies so I know he and his buddies are thought of here in our little part of america.


    September 17, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  23. Jeff

    My little girl is now a soldier. To her and all soldiers, we want you to know that everytime we see a flag, everytime we say the pledge of allegiance at a ball game, everytime we see the news, we think of you. We know of the courage and bravery you that drives you. We speak of you with overwehelming pride. You protect us. You fight for our security. You are our real life heros. We HONOR you. Not even for a brief moment would we or even could we forget about you.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  24. Diane M

    I think it is far too easy for most Americans to not think about our military folks being out there, or even that these wars are still going on. Our lives are too disconnected from the reality, as another poster pointed out. We don't have to make ANY sacrifices whatsoever for these wars, and thus have very little reminder in our day to day lives that this whole other world exists and that our people are living in it. And judging from some of the comments here it seems like many people don't distinguish between the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. It's very sad. Americans have become so insulated from the suffering going on outside our borders (and even inside our borders) that all we think about is our little daily lives. I agree that bringing back the draft would be a good way to de-marginalize our military people and wake up the rest of the citizens. Thank you, Anderson Cooper, for reminding us about these men and women! And to everyone serving in Afghanistan AND Iraq: thank you for your selflessness and putting your lives at risk every day.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  25. Ron, Hawaii

    2 of my good friends just got back from overseas. Boy, was it good to see them again! But yes, we still remember your over there, and yes we all want you guys and gals back home safe and sound as soon as possible! Thanks again for helping defending our country and our freedoms! Words can never express the gratitude that we all feel!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  26. rebecca wagner

    I will never forget these men and women that are over there fighting this war. My husband is in the Illinois National Guard and is currently serving in Afghanistan. I don't expect him home until the spring of next year. Every time the news comes on about something in Iraq or Afghanistan, I wonder about all the families that are impacted by these wars. My thoughts are always on these soldiers and I am so proud of them for their sacrifice for our country. We will never forget!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  27. Daniel Schaeffer

    Thank you for this blog sir. Yes even now with the iraq war seeming to be at end stages and in its final moments, we are still here running the same risks. Convoys and flights, and the thousands of us over here still doing the daily grind among a population that still really resents all of us. But we do it for family and for friends. We do it for pride and we do it because it needs done. Thank you to all those who support still every time you do its noticed. We don't always have the ability to thank you but we are gratefull as a whole, we really are.

    SPC US Army

    September 17, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  28. Marcia, Indiana

    We think of you all the time! I think what the soldiers are doing
    is very important and necessary for us all. The terrorists need to
    be stopped so we can ALL live in peace in every country. I am so
    proud of all of our soldiers every where. My son has served 3 tours
    in Iraq and would do it all over again if he were called upon.
    Military men and women – we love you!!!!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  29. IM Austin, TX

    My son's best friend from high school just got back from his second tour in Iraq. EVERY single day he was in our thoughts and prayers. Because of him, we sent packages during the holidays to the soldiers. He would read our daughter's many, many letters to his buddies. Just as I am drawn to read this, I think and pray for all of our troops every day.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  30. Mallory

    I think about them everyday and will until they all come home.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  31. military mom

    As a mother of 2 Soldiers and 2 Marines I knew the moment that
    our Pentagon and WTCs were attacked, my Sons would be called
    upon to retaliate, defend and diminish the threat against our nation.
    I am proud of them, their brothers-in-arms and their families. I am
    relieved, though the Al Qeada training camps have moved , they are
    no longer in Afghanistan. Our military is disrupting the Jihadist
    'business as usual' and will unfortunately have to continue to do
    so for a long time yet. We have a determined enemy.
    I pray for my Sons, their families and all our military, humanitarian
    workers, contractors and even the embedded new reporters. Anyone
    that is in the line of fire to protect and serve our country. I thank all
    those that support them through their prayers, care packages, and
    most of all their support. God bless our Troops and God bless
    our America.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  32. Terri

    I think about the soldiers all the time. I'm a member of Soldier's Angels and have adopted 3 soldiers in the past and am now a part of the letter writing team and write to 3 soldiers each week. I've written just under 500 letters in the last two years or so and each to a different soldier. I make it a point to buy cute little cards that are blank inside and hand write each one. I may not agree with the war but I do support our soldiers. Right now there are a little over 1100 soldiers waiting to be adopted. Please go to http://www.soldiersangels.org and join a team or adopt a soldier to let them know we will never forget them!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  33. Dave Brown, CA

    That is a hard question to hear. I'm glad you heard it and I'm impressed that you passed it along. Like many, I feel that it's not specifically about support for the war. It's about supporting people who are in harms way. I have friends currently serving in Afganistan and co-workers who served in Iraq. I am a Police Sergeant. I think about these individuals, their service and those who are currently in harms way every day. I try to use their example for our goals. We have it easy. They do not. No one should disregard that. As a nation, we all need to do our best and honor their example. Thanks for a good report and for taking a good look at some very tough assignments. Please do it again.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  34. ES

    God Bless our troops and let them come home safe.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  35. Michael Romer

    As a former Marine with 8 years of service and a wife who served 22 years in the Navy Medical Field, I can tell you that we both think about you guys every day.

    It is unfortunate that we as a Nation have allowed the senseless conflict in Iraq to linger on and our Country will never be able to declare victory in Afghanistan.

    Nonetheless, yours is a nobel cause and our Country thanks you for your sacrifice and service.

    My son graduates from High School in June. He also plans to follow in our footsteps and join the Military. We as a family believe it is the duty of every able bodied US citizen to serve their Country.

    "Semper Fi"

    September 17, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  36. Edward

    I salute the men and women who wear old glory on their arms.

    Thank you

    September 17, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  37. Melody

    YES!!! Every day. My son is a Marine and, as hard as it is for me to even think of him being deployed ( re-inlisted for another 4 yrs.), I can not imagine having a husband deployed and giving birth to a beautiful child in the father's absence and so SAD also for the deployed father. Yes, thank-you to all wives esp. with children whose husbands are deployed and thank-you to all the children too, for their sacrifice is also GREAT!

    I have one complaint regarding the article. I understand the analogy made of the deployed medics in Afganistan to that of middle America's factory worker is just to show how both groups work diligently. I believe that these brave combat medics do not complain because they know that their cause is greater than themselves, however, I cannot imagine factory workers not complaining about their jobs. I feel that this analogy is not accurate and is demeaning to our service personnels for one simple fact; that fact being, having to put their lives in danger with the posibility of death or permanent disability as the outcome.

    I do support both, the mission and our troops. Democracy is the only dignify way to live. Those poor Afgans are being brutalized by the Taliban. We are supposedly a "Christian" nation. In so being, are we not taught to give of ourselves to help others? Did Christ not say that no greater love has a man than to lie down his life for his friend?

    September 17, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  38. Old Soldier

    I retired from the Army three years ago after 37 years of service. All the young medics Anderson Cooper lived with in Afghanistan were trained at the U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which was my last assignment. It was my priviledge to work with these wonderful young men and women. Every morning they would march to class while singing and shouting and then slap "high fives" as they came through the doors of the class building. It was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen, especially since most of them volunteered knowing that they would be in combat soon after their graduation. Their primary motivation was, and still is, that they want to save lives.

    All these soldiers, and most service members, really want is to know that people back home remember them and appreciate their and their families' sacrifice. I remember, do not forget their sacrifices, and pray for them always.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  39. Roxy

    We remember you are there!! WE want you home!! Please stay safe and come home "well" ..... God bless you and God bless America!!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:36 pm |
  40. Oklahoma Bob

    I'm 61 years old. In my lifetime, this country has never fought in a war that was... as required by the Constitution... declared by Congress or that was fought as a defensive response to an attack on this nation. Having worked for the Defense Department as a civilian for several years, I heartily support and am proud of our military personnel here and abroad. Nevertheless, they... like the rest of us... have been subjected to saber-rattling propaganda and outright lies over and over and over. As Mary Travers, who recently died, sang years ago, "Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one. When will they ever learn?" When, indeed?

    September 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  41. Dylan from Pennsylvania

    Soldiers, we have not forgotten you. Many may not approve of the war, but we know that you have offered your service to this country. You've been given a difficult task and everyone, from the cook to the infantryman, do so at their countrys' leaders' request and without hesitation. Thank you for doing your job. Your actions save lives and protect civilians from the threat of violence and terror. Again, my thanks go out to all of you. I am not a religious man, but I will say godspeed. May you all return home soon.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  42. Angela

    I believe in the war in Afghanistan if our troops do. I am not there, nor have I been there, to witness first hand what they experience. I can only imagine and I am sure that does not compare. I pray for their safety and for peace to come to the region. After 9/11 I was angry, and this is the war that many of us on the NE coast expected as a retalliation (not war in Iraq). It may be fair to say that we hoped for this war as an act of retribution against Bin Laden.

    Now that so much time has passed and the death toll continues to climb, many of us are asking, "What's going on? What happened?" There has been much confusion resulting from our military actions over the past few years, but I think of the stories of U.S. soldiers returning from Nam (a war many people didn't understand at the time). Our soldiers were treated poorly in their own country. That should never have happened and should NEVER happen again. U.S. soldiers do what many of us could never do and they should be revered. We have not forgotten them!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  43. "D" Compton

    I will never forget............my love to them all!!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  44. Susan

    Dear Troops: It's difficult to find the words to express my profound gratitude for your selflessness and sacrifice. Please know that every time I see a soldier, I stop them to express my gratefulness.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  45. Christine

    As the wife of a career military man who has yet to serve over seas, and the sister of a man who is currently serving in Afganistan, I can tell you that I think about our soldiers all the time. However, I don't believe the average American who does not have some connection either past or present to the military does more than give them a fleeting thought once in a while when it is convenient for them, or they see a news report on T.V. Truthfully, people are not sacrificing anything in their everyday lives because of, or to help our soldiers. They go on buying and doing whatever they want. People are not inconvenienced or asked to do anything as a public to support our troops. I think it is sad.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  46. chery

    My husband served in the marine corp during the Vietnam war. Whenever he sees someone in uniform he makes it a point to thank them for serving their country. We remember you every day and thank you for every day served.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  47. Alice, AR

    retired MEDEVAC Army, GREAT COMMENTS!!!! I could not have said it better. It is hard to know how to show support for our men and women in uniform but at the same time recognizing that these wars are not worth losing one of our soldiers.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  48. Bruce L. Gross

    I served in Viet Nam. One of the greatest stressors of post-combat is that no one knows, except your fellow combatants, what you went through. In a sense, we are all forgotten, while we are there and when we get back. We changed, but everyone else stayed the same. We live with the war each day for the rest of our lives. Others, even our loved ones, don't understand why. I once had a man ask me why I didn't just forget. We can't forget, and we hope others won't forget. Hang in there bros, there are those of us who know what you're doing, and we won't forget. God bless.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  49. Debbie Goodrow

    They are most certainly not forgotten. And there are many to try to make sure the soldiers know it.

    Look into "Hearts for Heroes"; an organization that sends handmade hearts to the soldiers just to let them know they ARE thought of, even by people who don't know their names.

    And 'Any Soldier" (anysoldier.com) another organization that organizes sending care packages directly from us to them, who-ever they are. Organized well enough so the soldiers can even suggest what would be helpful to them where they are, and those stateside can send them what they need most.

    Oh yes, they are thought of often!

    September 17, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  50. Giles Lewey

    I actually don't think about these men and women every day. I have a sort of fuzzy sense of what they do, think the politics are very heavy in that region (the heroin trade flourishing, militants hiding in Pakistan, etc.), but I think they are soldiers fighting a just war.

    I don't often think of the cops or the firefighters risking their lives every day. Of course I think of them, I'm a New Yorker. Just not every day. Probably one of the burdens of being a hero is isolation; "do the people I'm protecting know how hard and horrible what I do is?" and the answer is of course we can't, but we can and will support you. Thank you and I wish I had your courage.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
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