20 years of sacrifice, of deployments, of missed kids' birthdays, of lives lost.
The 20th year was sealed shut with the blood of 13 servicemen and women who stood their ground to give safe passage to the land of the free and home of the brave.
Our government made the decision to leave behind countrymen, allies, brothers, and sisters that fought alongside of us.
At the same time I saw my brothers and sisters pick up their phones - gather intel, reactivate networks, pull imagery, pass funds, pay bribes, coordinate checkpoints, all to maintain their word, keep their promise and save lives.
Take a moment this weekend to remember, reflect, and celebrate your family, friends, and country.
Take a walk with your kid down your neighborhood street, hold their hold, smell the air, cherish that feeling.
Then think of a child being rushed down a trash covered street in Afghanistan under gunfire, their hand being death gripped by their parent, all for a chance at the opportunity to live on the same street and breathe the same free air as you.
Put down your phone, turn off the news and be thankful we live in this imperfect country.
In 2001 we were united in our grief and our anger against an enemy - but we were also together in our love for our neighbor.
Two decades later it feels we couldn't be further apart - Capitols being rushed, people being left behind, hundreds of people dying a day from overdose, fights over pieces of cloth worn on the face.
Is this the America that thousands of people over two decades gave their life for? Are you being an American worth that sacrifice?
Honor them - remember them - tell stories about them.
Be better because of them.