Those who served reflect on first Veterans Day since Afghanistan withdrawal

November 11, 2021

Afghanistan on a map

There is a different tone this Veterans Day for many following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Director of Veteran and Military Affairs at Quinnipiac Jason Burke explains that those who spent time in Afghanistan may be particularly impacted by the recent events and said that he hopes they will be met with support from those surrounding them.

“Veterans may have a tough time reconciling the withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, especially if they served in that theater and witnessed the blood and treasure spent,” said Burke, a U.S. Navy veteran who served as a commanding officer in Afghanistan. “The interaction with the Afghan people was close, so witnessing the calamity the collapse of the Afghan government along with the U.S. and Allies’ withdrawal may be distressing.”

Morgan Mohalla, MD '25, served as the senior medic for his light infantry company while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. The medical student said he is thinking about those who served and lost their lives there on this day devoted those who served.

“My fellow veterans had people we knew and loved killed over there,” he said. “It’s a complicated situation that could’ve been carried out more efficiently. What’s not complicated are the feelings of pain, loss, anger and betrayal that stemmed from the withdrawal.”

Veterans throughout the university have the Student Veterans Organization to help support and honor them. They frequently have events to support each other and educate others on campus.

Burke said he is proud of the veterans community at Quinnipiac.

“Our young people take an oath to defend our Constitution, volunteer to serve in harm’s way, miss important family dates and events, and execute their mission with professionalism,” Burke said. “They come from all communities and diversify our campus with their experiences that can open new areas for discussion.”

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