Generation Z may not have borne witness to the World Trade Center’s collapse or remember where they were when the world stopped turning. However, we — The Battalion’s Editorial Board — will never forget 9/11 and those affected.
Since the Twin Towers fell, between two and three million soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to fight the United States’ Global War on Terrorism. In the wake of the Taliban reclaiming Afghanistan and over 335,000 innocent civilians lost, many combat veterans must be wondering, “Was our service for nothing?”
The Battalion firmly believes their sacrifices were not in vain. While an estimated 400 to 600 Al-Qaeda fighters still remain in Afghanistan, U.S. officials and analysts agree they do not have the capability to strike the homeland — a clear indication our soldiers kept Americans safe.
In the final days of the Kabul evacuation, U.S. soldiers also helped evacuate over 120,000 civilians, securing freedom for Afghan refugees. The Taliban may have taken control, but we managed to rescue some innocents from their brutal rule.
Despite the mass exodus from Afghanistan, not all of our allies made it out, and we are committed to remembering the allies who assisted our troops. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, interpreters were integral to keeping soldiers alive while they were deployed. Many translators would intercept and identify threats to U.S. soldiers, often saving them from walking into ambushes or explosives.
We believe our allies in Afghanistan, Iraq and other nations who treated our troops as family should not be treated as another casualty of war. This 9/11, let “never forget” extend to the interpreters who have been rewarded for their service with a death warrant.
Finally, we recognize the sacrifices of more than 7,000 U.S. soldiers who have fallen to prevent another large-scale terror attack. Gold Star families often remind us that soldiers’ worth is not defined by victory — saving lives is the most important role they have. The U.S. may have seen isolated terrorism cases over the years, but none were of the same caliber as 9/11.
The Battalion also feels it is our obligation to highlight the mental health struggles that continue to plague veterans. Four times as many service members — 30,000 veterans — have lost their lives to suicide compared to active combat deaths. This year, 9/11 coincides with the end of National Suicide Awareness Week. Keep our retired veterans in your thoughts this year as they continue to fight a quieter war, away from the battlefield. Whether they are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental illnesses, these service members need our support more than ever.
To the families of the Aggies who have passed on, whether it was the three lost on 9/11 or the 30 soldiers known to have fallen in the War on Terrorism, our hearts go out to you. We cannot hope to comprehend your loss, but we want to reaffirm our support and solidarity. To honor and remember the fallen, we have but one thing to say:
The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Editorial Board, with the editor-in-chief having final responsibility.
Myranda Campanella, Editor-in-Chief
Julia Potts, Managing Editor
Caleb Powell, Opinion Editor
Aubrey Vogel, News Editor
Michaela Rush, Life & Arts Editor
Casey Stavenhagen, Co-Sports Editor
Jennifer Streeter, Co-Sports Editor