In preparation for this 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, the Pentagon moved 250 Marines from Spain to Italy, where they will be within a few hours' flight of the Libyan capital, CNN reported this week. It was an all-too brief reminder that thousands of Americans remain overseas as part of the response to the attacks that took us by surprise a dozen years ago.
The Defense Department officially counts 2,135 Americans killed in Afghanistan since the start of the war there and another 128 outside of Afghanistan as part of the war effort, the Associated Press reported last week. Those deaths continue, as thousands of U.S. forces remain in that country in pursuit of our elusive mission.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, U.S. commander of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, told Reuters this week, "Our objective is a stable, secure and unified Afghanistan. And we're still working towards that end."
Even after the official withdrawal of U.S. troops next year, Dunford says we will need to keep many thousands in the country to continue training the Afghan National Security Forces.
This is the day when Americans repeat the phrase, "Never forget." Our remembrance needs to include the Americans who continue to fight, and sometimes die, in the longest war in U.S. history.