Gold Star families weigh ‘heartbreaking,’ ‘devastating’ consequences of Afghanistan crisis
Gold Star sister ‘devastated’ by Afghanistan crisis
Images of the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan hit home for family members who have lost loved ones in the global war on terror.
“I’m sad for what’s happening. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I certainly feel that we could have done this in a different way,” Ryan Manion told Fox News. Manion’s brother, U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq in 2007.
“I remain hopeful that we honor the commitment to bring our Afghan allies back,” Manion said. “But it’s sad. I mean, you can’t help but look at what’s happening on TV and be devastated.”
After the U.S. withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly swept through the country and seized Kabul. America has launched an effort to evacuate citizens as well as Afghan allies, but critics are skeptical the task is possible ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline.
Manion is president of the Travis Manion Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans and families of fallen heroes. She is also part of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, a group committed to building a monument on the National Mall to honor those who served in America’s longest war.
“I think this memorial is important no matter what, but I think what is happening right now –,” Manion started. “I’ve talked to a lot of friends that are veterans that served in Afghanistan over the past week, and a lot of them are hurting, a lot of them are questioning their service.”
“This memorial serves as two things,” Manion told Fox News. “It serves as a way for us as a country to thank the men and women that defend our freedoms each and every day and for the last 20 years, post-9/11.”
“But it’s also a way for us to make sure that our next generation and many generations to follow understand the service and the sacrifice of these conflicts,” she continued.
Carol and Tom Barbieri, whose son, U.S. Army Spc. Thomas Barbieri, was killed in Iraq in 2006, said the fall of Afghanistan brought the need for a memorial into stark focus.
“It’s heartbreaking, and I think this is the time to push forward with the [Global War on Terrorism] memorial,” Tom Barbieri told Fox News. “The people that served, the Gold Star families, they need to know now that America appreciates their sacrifices, that America appreciates their service.”
“Given what we’re seeing lately, we stay in contact with a lot of soldiers that my son served with,” he continued. “A lot of them are feeling that, you know, ‘Was my sacrifice, was it for nothing?’”
“They’ve kept us safe for the last 20 years. Their service was not for nothing,” Carol Barbieri told Fox News. “It was for our stability and our freedoms and our safety.”
The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act, which authorized the memorial on federal land in Washington, D.C., was signed into law by President Trump in 2017. Congress has yet to decide where the memorial will be built.
Source: Read Full Article