Land of the free, home of the brave

By Matthew Rutherford
November 1, 2021

Infographic made by Matthew Rutherford.
Infographic made by Matthew Rutherford.

Everyday, there are 1.3 million brave young men and women putting their lives on the line to protect America. In return, we should take the opportunity to thank our troops and the 19 million living veterans who have served and protected the United States.

Serving and protecting. Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Each year we celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11., but this year the celebrations are a little bit different. 

The U.S. has ended the longest war  in American history. On Feb. 29, 2020, the country struck a deal with an agreement with the Taliban that set the terms for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. 

On Nov. 17, 2020, Acting Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, formally announced that the U.S. would reduce U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 2,500 by Jan.15, 2021. 

On March 25, President Biden held a press conference where he said “it’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline. Just in terms of tactical reasons, it’s hard to get those troops out.” 

Less than a month later on April 14, Biden had set an updated deadline to the 20th anniversary of the initial attacks that started it all on Sept. 11. The final troops left Afghanistan on Aug. 30 marking an end to the war. 

7,057 U.S. troops have been killed since the Sept. 11, 2001, war operations. 

Although this number is such a large impact, the bigger concern comes from the amount of veteran deaths because of this war. Over 30,177 U.S. service members and veterans of the post-9/11 wars have died by suicide. 

Every single one of these fallen soldiers has a family. Each person of the 1.3 million current active duty military members has people that miss them and wish they could be at home with them right now. 

In 2019, 977,191 children had at least one parent on the front lines with 41.2 percent of them falling in the age group of 0-5 years old. 

Life is not easy for military families. Many of them live each day without their son, daughter, mother, father, husband and/or wife being able to be at home by their side. The other half that get to stay with their families have to move every few years to wherever they are stationed next. 

Deployments for active duty to foreign countries or even war zones occur regularly for the active duty member and can last from six to 12-months depending upon the needs of the military and the branch of service.

Our troops. Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Being in the military is tough for those serving, but also hard on their loved ones. We should be grateful everyday for those who are on the front lines for our freedom. They have the courage to do what millions wouldn’t be able to.

Thank you to all those who are currently serving, active duty or reserves, veterans, and all of their families for risking their lives to protect us. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and we could never put into words how grateful we are to you!

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Matthew Rutherford

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