Retired Arkansas Army vet reflects on terrorist attack in Afghanistan

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When the takeover of Afghanistan began, it was hard for some local veterans to watch. Thursday’s loss of 13 U.S. service members only made it worse.

It’s been a rough 24 hours for some local veterans. There are a lot of complicated feelings, sadness and for some, painful memories, and flashbacks.

Retired Army Colonel Mike Ross spends most of his time now serving other veterans.

“What happened yesterday and what’s in the news, is putting salt in those wounds,” Ross said. For him, the loss of 13 U.S. service members in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan brings back painful memories.

“The flashbacks that you get,’ he said, “It’s things that you can’t unsee, you can’t unhear, you can’t unsmell and you can’t forget. When I heard that and saw that yesterday, you know, I had that feeling in my gut again.”

He said that’s a feeling a lot of other veterans can relate to.

“It’s a gut punch because all of us have lost buddies over there,” said Bubba Beason, Air Force veteran and Director of Arkansas Run for the Fallen. “They didn’t come home the right way, like we did.”

Beason said the last couple of weeks have been heartbreaking and complicated.  

“It’s kind of a mixed feeling,” Beason said, “Some of it is anger, obviously, because you kind of question if this was for the right thing.”

Beason said he’s getting a lot of messages from the veterans he served alongside.

“Just you know, venting, if you will, on how they feel and how they’re coping with it,” he said.

He says it’s now up to us to honor those who lost their lives.

“Because they say you die twice,” Beason said, “Once, when you stop breathing, and once when your name is stop being said, so, I believe it’s our duty to say their names.”

While Ross and Beason admit they’re sad and upset, they both added they’re very proud of the work that was done in Afghanistan by our service members over the last 20 years.

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