With the announcement of troops being withdrawn from Afghanistan starting Sept. 11, Veterans groups are excited to hear that the longest war in U.S. history may finally be coming to an end.
American Legion Director of Media and Communications Jeff Stoffer joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the withdrawal of troops. He also previewed stories to be featured in the upcoming edition of the American Legion Magazine.
Coming home from Afghanistan
Removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan has long been a goal of the U.S. It may finally be coming true with President Joe Biden, who promised to begin removal on Sept. 11 of this year. Stoffer said the plan is a step in the right direction.
He said the original plans for removal were not met, making this the longest war in American history.
There are still questions about what will happen if the U.S. removes forces. Very little ground has been made with the Taliban, worrying some. Stoffer said there are additional worries of civil war if the U.S. leaves.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Stoffer then previewed a story in the next edition of the American Legion Magazine about the 100-year anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony will take place in November with events running through Veterans Day.
The story details the thoughts of a retired Army Sergeant Major. During his service, this veteran had the honor of being a Sentinel who guarded the tomb, giving him a unique perspective. This veteran led the way in organizing a slew of in-person and virtual events. Additionally, he helped organize a traveling exhibit.
Stoffer said the American Legion is invested in the tomb. They were one of the first groups to call for its establishment and have purchased things such as lights to keep the tomb lit up all day and night.
A face for every name
Another story to be featured in the American Legion Magazine tells the story of the efforts of an American Legion post in the Netherlands. This post has been incredibly active and engages with active duty personnel and veterans still living in the area.
Near the end of World War II, U.S. soldiers were buried in a temporary cemetery where the post now sits. With the headstones intact, the post has taken it upon themselves to match photos with each of the soldiers buried there.
Stoffer said the effort will allow visitors of the cemetery to put a face to the name of the person they are honoring.