Friday, October 7, 2011
San Diegans Quietly Honor The War In Afghanistan
A Navy band, a military fly over, plenty of military service men and women and local politicians were on the campus of San Diego State University on Friday.
The 15th annual ceremony is a war memorial to honor students who lost their lives in military service. Five SDSU students have been killed in the post 9-11 wars, though no one publicly mentioned the reason - the decade-long war in Afghanistan - of which Friday marked the 10th anniversary.
"I'm surprised, but at the same time I'm not," said Marine First Sargent Todd Kennedy. He's an Afghan veteran, and now a freshman at SDSU.
"These wars have been going on for so long and because of that it's a routine in American society, so I'm not surprised it wasn't mentioned, but that doesn't take away from the significance of dedication given," he said.
The ceremony is held as part of homecoming week events. University officials say the campus is home to 1,200 students who are either veterans or active-duty members of the military.
Navy Chief Noel Peralta, a veteran who served in Iraq, said he didn't think it was appropriate to mention the anniversary at the ceremony.
Organizers also said they wanted to focus on the war memorial, which was dedicated in 1996 and the students who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The war in Afghanistan is considered the longest war in U.S. history.
President Obama plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year. The conflict has cost more than a trillion dollars and killed more than 1,800 troops.
A Pew Research Center Study released this week revealed a third of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan believe the wars are a waste.
The San Diego Peace and Justice Coalition is planning to protest the ongoing wars next week.