LUBBOCK, Texas — Local veterans and families of fallen soldiers gathered tonight to offer prayers and support for the Afghan people and the American soldiers returning home as the country falls to the Taliban after twenty years of American engagement.
Members of the Lubbock-area Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, American Legion, the Purple Heart, and Friends of the Monument of Courage organized the event to show their solidarity with Americans and Afghans in the war-torn country. After 20 years of American engagement, 3,200 military deaths, 20,300 injuries, and more $2 trillion sunk into training and aiding the Afghan military, the Taliban took near complete control of the country just two weeks after American troops withdrew.
“We pray for everything Afghanistan,” event organizer Danny Koch said. “We pray for the people who are under siege, for the Americans trying to escape, for the deployed soldiers going back to Afghanistan, and for the women and children, that they may continue to have freedom.”
The event was initiated by Lubbock City Council member Randy Christian, who delivered remarks and evoked the memory of his veteran father. Veterans from at least Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan were also present.
“It’s emotional, because what you see on TV, that’s not how we want to portray ourselves as America,” local Afghanistan veteran Patrick Juarez said. “But the people there, they are very strong, very smart.”
The approximately 50 attendees read a list of fallen soldiers, thanked local veterans, and disbanded after one hour with a strong sense of solidarity.
“Some of us, not all of us, made it off the battlefield,” Lubbock VFW Commander Benny Guerrero said. “And it’s going to take all of us, not just some of us, to remember them.”