NORTH OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Images of armed Taliban inside Afghanistan’s capitol marked a total governmental takeover – and an end to 20 years of conflict that will forever resonate with Jennie Taylor.
Her husband, North Ogden’s former mayor and a Major in Utah’s Army National Guard, died in 2018 while serving there.
“It hurts to watch the city fall, it hurts to watch the country fall,” said Taylor on Sunday.
But, she says, what also hurts is the conversation around this war being “worth it,” or “in vain.”
The political conversation is a separate one, she says. Her hope now, she says, is that we honor the brave Americans who signed up to risk their lives in our military.
It’s what her husband Brent did, serving multiple tours in Afghanistan.
“He went to war in 2018 knowing what happened today was likely to have happened – or at least could have happened. And he didn’t say ‘Nah, that’s a lost cause, I’m out of here, I’m not willing to put on my boots for that one,'” said Taylor.
“He and thousands, tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands of brave American men and women and our allied forces – have gone to war anyway,” she added.
“As we get so deep into the politics and policies of war, I worry we’re going to have service members who have served in those wars feel that they fought in vain. I worry there’s Gold Star families like mine who are going to say I lost my loved one for no reason. And I just can’t get myself to think that way, I don’t see it that way,” said Taylor.
Her hope is that we all remember wars are won, and they are lost. Heroism, she says, is not defined by an outcome – even if, like in Afghanistan, the outcome is being roundly criticized after so much American sacrifice.
“We’ve got to make sure that as we say well, was this war just a waste? We can’t — cannot — let that translate into thinking that the service our military men and women have provided is a waste,” said Taylor.