Patches of Fog
CINCINNATI - Tri-State veterans looking back over the last 10 years since the beginning of the War in Iraq say they aren't sure how much the country has learned in that time.
When Operation Enduring Freedom lit living rooms with televised images, it also burned the actual experience deep into the minds, souls and bodies of the soldiers who were there.
"I stepped on an IED," said Mike Hagan, who spent two years in Iraq and another two in Afghanistan where a roadside bomb ended his military career.
Even today, he shucks it off.
"It hurt. It was weird."
His perspective is up close to the bloody reality of battle. And like the war itself, his opinions are conflicted.
"But, we got to take care of our own country first. But, I'd do it again in a heartbeat," said Hagan.
Hagan says the U.S. should have gotten in and out and left the the Iraqis to find their own best government.
"We don't need to run their country. We don't need to teach them how to do it. They should know how to do it. We taught ourselves how to do it, they should be able to do the same thing. We shouldn't have to hold everybody's hand. Because that's how we end up getting the short end of the stick," said Hagan.
In Clermont County Tuesday, Keith Maupin prepared for the Let Us Never Forget Scholarship Fund through the yellow ribbon support foundation.
He made crosses that represented fallen soldiers from the Tri-State. One of them symbolizes his son, Army Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin who was killed by insurgents in Iraq.
"You ask those guys who didn't come home and it's a bad idea," said Maupin.
Of the lessons learned, Maupin concluded that history hasn't been a very good teacher.
"They certainly didn't learn anything from Viet Nam, did they? Hopefully they did this time. But then again, we're still in Afghanistan and how long has that been?"