What Veterans Day Means To Me

I had the honor to serve with the United States Armed Forces from an early age of 15. I fought in the field with Special Forces, trained Afghan Security Forces, and advised leadership on counterinsurgency strategies to enhance the peace process.

Leaving 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.

This day reminds us 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).

The willingness to fight for freedom and democracy, sacrificing everything to protect countrymen, family and homeland is a Veteran.

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.

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 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 have 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 11:00 am and honor all who lost their lives for us.

May this day remind us that unity is our victory – being different is our 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 the Horn of Africa to South America, and the Middle East, for extremism has no boundary.

Photo: Ahmad Shah Mohibi (age 17), Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan — 2007

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