September 11th, 2017 Remarks

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Today is a day that shaped many of our lives, my life included. It was this day 16 years ago that I decided I would be joining the military. There was no question that I needed to do something. As a 16 year old, junior in high school, my future was already set out for me. I knew what I was going to be doing in life.

Sixteen years is something we need to talk about today. Sixteen years is a long time to be at war. In a mere two years, the children born on that day and beyond will be being sent to continue this war if we do not start talking about where we go from here. This September 11th we should start to form another path in our lives, one that includes ending the war.

I understand the emotions behind today. I witnessed the second plane strike the South Tower live on television, stunning me. The whole day in school was numb for me as I tried to process what had happened. I can only imagine what it felt like to be at ground zero. But we must ask ourselves why we are still there.

Those who orchestrated the attacks that fateful day have been captured or killed. Does that not mean we have completed what we set out to do? I believe that we were justified in going after those responsible, but now what is our mission? We have even been negotiating, in some instances, with Taliban leaders in certain areas of Afghanistan in attempts to broker peace. I feel there is no further justification of our presence in the country.

We will not be able to convince the nation of Afghanistan to adopt policies like our nation has. Throughout history, several empires have attempted to conquer Afghanistan, and have failed. The tribal and remote nature of the people makes a unified Afghanistan nearly impossible. Ancient Greece failed, the British failed, the Russians failed, no nation has been able to keep the entire nation under control. Rebellions and insurgencies springing up, especially in the mountains.

I am weary of a war that has lasted half my lifetime. I am heartbroken seeing more flag draped coffins coming through Dover Airfield. I am tired of grieving mothers, wives, and children being handed folded flags. If this conflict is to end, it must be us that ends it. There is no path to victory in Afghanistan. We are merely wasting money and young lives at this point.

It is time for our people to be brought home to their families. We must be the ones who demand this happen. I want no more lives lost over September 11th. So in your remembrance today, remember to dedicate yourself from this day forward to peace.

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