By Pete Lucier, November 2021.
When you are sitting down for Thanksgiving today, someone is probably going to ask you “How is all that Afghanistan stuff going?”
But first you’ll have to explain scrambling to fill out every form you could find, hoping one was the right one.
Or maybe you’ll think of what it was like when a case asked you on WhatsApp if they should go to MeS to try and get on a charter.
You’ll try to capture what it was like searching for seats in September. Filling out HP apps and watching videos on P2 during your lunch break and your boss wondering why your eyes were red and you were behind on deliverables.
You’ll want to show them selfies from Qatar after a plane lands and how good a win feels.
Maybe your uncle will make a comment about politics and you’ll tell him you are watching the nomination of a certain under secretary very closely. Or how a congressman didn’t know what an I-94 was when you asked him about amendments to the CR.
Chances are you’ll think and feel all those things, and then you’ll smile and shake your head, and just say “Well, it’s a tough situation, you know?”
Because you either know the difference between an NVC and a KBL, or you don’t. You’ve either stayed up all night to hear if they got a passport, or you haven’t. You’ve either yelled at a Marine over the phone at Abbey Gate, or you haven’t.
And you can’t explain it. Not at dinner.
So on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for all of you. Veterans of the evacuation efforts. Because you are all veterans now, whether you served in uniform or not.
Thanks to all of you. The ones still fighting. The ones who know.
Pete Lucier is a Marine veteran, and a volunteer with Team America Relief. The article was originally published on November 25, 2021.