The willingness to fight for freedom and democracy, sacrificing everything to protect countrymen, family and homeland is a Veteran. This past week, Brent Taylor, the father of seven children and Mayor of North Ogden, Utah lost his life in Afghanistan fighting terrorism as Afghans try to conduct a parliamentary election and cannot accomplish without military support. Taylor, like hundreds of thousands of heroes, lost his life protecting Democracy and vulnerable people abroad.
The willingness to fight for freedom and democracy, sacrificing everything to protect countrymen, family and homeland is a Veteran.
I had the honor to serve with the United States Armed Forces from the early age as 15. I fought in the field with Special Forces, trained Afghan Security Forces, and advised leadership on counterinsurgency strategies to enhance the peace process. Dropping out of school to serve alongside the US military was my decision and it has become my passion to fight terrorism, like many other brave men and women I have come to feel a kinship with. It is so painful for all of us to be reminded of the fragility of the strongest of us like Taylor.
This day brings great memories from being joked at for being a young teenager to patrolling in the mountains of Afghanistan, seeing brave soldiers frightened by scorpions to convincing the newly deployed forces to try the local food without getting food poisoning and interpreting funny local jokes into English, realizing no one is laughing but me.
This day reminds me to remain strong, united and forever determined until we win the fight against extremism and global terrorism. Many heroes sacrificed their lives to protect us including my three good friends (Afghan, American). We should all be proud of our sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers that have lost their lives for America and the vulnerable of the world. It is so hard to outlive the ones we love and remembering their heroism is vital.
Today is not about arbitrating whether the war is right or wrong, necessary or unnecessary, who is to blame or not – it’s about honoring the brave men and women who served to protect the United States of America and its commitment to Democracy. It’s about honoring those who have sacrificed their lives to combat terrorism and keep all of us and our way of life safe. It’s about sharing condolences and supporting the families who has lost heroic loved ones. May they rest in peace!
Today is a special day to remind all of us that Veterans serve the motherland without regard for partisanship.
For this day, this year, the country needs to put aside its divisiveness, join hands, stand up wherever you are at 11:00am and honor all who lost their lives for us.
May this day remind us that unity is our victory – being different is out beauty and diversity makes us strong. Use this day to combat various forms of violent extremism – from lone wolves on the domestic front, to organized insurgent and international terrorist groups that operate in all corners of the globe, from the Far East and Horn of Africa, to South America, and the Middle East, for extremism has no boundary.
Ahmad Mohibi is Founder and Director of Counter-terrorism at Rise to Peace, a non-profit organization, and a national security expert. He is a published author, journalist and news commentator on TOLONews, and an alumnus of George Washington University and George Mason University. Follow him on Twitter at @ahmadsmohibi