CINCINNATI — There’s nothing anyone can say to ease the pain of losing a loved one in war, Keith Maupin said Thursday night. He knows.
Maupin’s son, Matt Maupin, died in Iraq in 2004. At nightfall Thursday, he and other military families — and other local veterans — were quietly processing the news that 13 American service members and dozens of Afghan civilians had been killed at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.
“The best (the victims’ families) can do is surround themselves with the people that care most about them,” Maupin said. “There's nothing you can do or say to someone to make them feel better. We're here for you, and we're here to help you."
Losses like these sting even for people who didn’t know the victims, said Army veteran Aaron Hatfield, who works with a nonprofit that helps fellow veterans find work and housing as they transition to civilian life.
“Seeing this happen over the last two weeks, it’s sad to see,” he said. “But at the same time, though, it shows, in my opinion, the absolute perseverance of the American fighting warrior. They’re coming together and doing what they have to in a tough situation, to do their mission the best they can.”
And groups like his are available to listen to veterans recovering from their own traumatic experiences or struggling with their emotions after hearing of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
"We're here to lend an ear,” Hatfield said. “In times like this, it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to talk to somebody about that. I'd encourage, if individuals feel so led, that they have a safe place to be able to share that. We're willing to help you out."
In the meantime, other people hit hard by the news should look at what they can do in their communities to help military veterans and families.
"Pray, petition your elected officials,” Hatfield recommended. “Try to come together as much as possible. We can only do so much on this side of the water, so let's do what we can."