Gold Star families share relief, worry on leaving Afghanistan
By SHAWNE WICKHAM | The New Hampshire Union Leader | Published: April 25, 2021
(Tribune News Service) — The Biden administration's plan to bring all American troops home from
"For me, it's 15 years too late,"
Her son, Army Sgt.
Durgin, 23, had already served a tour in
"I pray every day that
But, she said, "There are no winners in this war. We've lost so many people."
"I'm now the fourth
"It's time," agreed
"I would like to believe that we've done what we could, and that hopefully they can stand on their own two feet and get by without us," Gionet said.
Her son, Daniel, served in
'He would want us to leave'
Healy said she had been talking with another
Healy's son, Navy SEAL
Healy, a father of four, is buried in an oceanside cemetery in
The day he was buried, mourners stood silently on the hillside overlooking the bay. "You could hear a pin drop," Healy recalled. "All of a sudden, you heard one seal bark from down in the bay.
"Everybody was like: That's got to be Dan."
Healy believes her son would agree that it's time to leave
"I think he also would regret that some of the things that we could have done, that maybe would have given us a victory, weren't done in the early stages. It's hard to say," she said. "But I think he would definitely want us to leave."
"Throughout history, many people have tried to conquer
'Still a chance'
There's still a chance for peace in
"If they can remain strong, then maybe
But Durgin said she fears what will happen once the Americans leave. "The Afghanis have been at war for so long, do they know any different? Will they know what to do?" she asked. "I do not believe that their war will be over."
Her son had befriended some of the Afghani army soldiers, she said. "They honored him ... when he was killed because they found him a positive force," she said. "And that was nice to hear."
Asked if the decision to withdraw the troops brings her any peace, Durgin said, "It will bring me a little bit of peace when I see it happen."
"They're not coming home 'til September, and what's going to happen between now and then?" she asked. "I'm praying for peace."
Healy said her biggest concern is for the troops to get out safely. "I hope the president will live up to the announcement he made, that if anyone attacks our troops, we will hit them very heavily," she said.
She's also worried about what will befall the women and girls of
Still, Healy said Americans can return "if it looks like it's falling apart."
"We can always do something so they don't get to be the place where terrorists are harbored, to plan attacks on us and other countries in the free world," she said.
Even as America's longest war has continued,
Senior Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy's service is memorialized in a mural inside
A "Hometown Heroes" banner honoring Sgt.
Likewise, in Sgt.
"These kids deserve to grow up like I did: free and unafraid," he told his mother.
"I hope those kids that I have pictures of can grow up knowing at least that we cared," Gionet said. "And that they can survive and live the life that we went out there hoping for them."