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U.S. Army Veteran And Blue-To-Gold Star Mother React to Afghanistan

It’s been several days since Afghanistan’s capital city fell to the Taliban’s. Many in the United States, particularly veteran’s and the families of those killed fighting in Afghanistan, say they are upset with how quickly the Taliban regained control.

“I think getting our troops out after twenty years is a good thing,” said Starla Owens, President of Northern Michigan’s Blue to Gold Star Mother’s. “I believe our men and women have done their jobs over there.”

Owen’s lost her son, Joseph Lancour, in 2007 while he was fighting in Afghanistan. He was just twenty-one years old.

“My son’s been gone almost fourteen years this November. And when he died, I said I would carry the weight of the war on my shoulders until they all came home,” she said. “And I have done that… I will continue doing that as long as we have a war going on.”

Blue to Gold Star Mother’s is an organization that helps support veteran’s and their family’s. A mother with a blue star is a mother who has a child in combat. A mother with a gold star is a mother who lost their child in combat or to the hands of suicide after combat.

Owen’s says she believes the ending of the war shouldn’t fall on the shoulder’s of the U.S., but instead with Afghanistan’s military. The images from the final days of U.S. involvement have been hard for Starla and other’s to watch.

“My heart goes out to the men and women that have served over there, and have come back… and to see that all their hard work and their efforts to protect the Afghanistan people, has fallen to the fact that their military folded… it’s heart-wrenching,” she said.

Sean Knudsen is a retired U.S. Army Veteran who now spends his time in Northern Michigan. He served in Iraq from 2004-2005, and at Ground Zero during 9/11. He has also been watching what’s playing out in Afghanistan.

“For those of us that’s served in the Middle East, those of us that’s fought, led and died, this is very hard to sit back and watch,” Knudsen said.

Sean said those working to evacuate American citizens and allies from the country, amid the chaos, are in a difficult position.

“When we put our U.S. sons and daughters at harms risk, countries like this, on the other side of the world, they need to have our support,” he said. “They need to have our backs. This catastrophe right now, this one’s on the suits. Not on the boots.”

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