Why We Can't Forget The Millennials Who Fought In The War On Terror

by John Haltiwanger

War is abhorrent and painful to remember. Yet, this does not mean we can forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.


Today is Veterans Day, in which we recognize those who have served in the military. Exactly 96 years ago today, World War I came to an end on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year.

Accordingly, we commemorate the sacrifice of those who have served on November 11 every single year.

At 5 PM (ET) today, MTV will premiere a new documentary entitled "MTV’s Got Your 6” in recognition of Veterans Day. It chronicles the journey of four Millennial veterans as they return home from active duty in Afghanistan.

These men are not even 30, and they have already seen combat, sustained wounds and lost friends in battle.

MTV has provided Elite Daily with an exclusive sneak peek of this amazing documentary (below), which features a 22-year-old soldier from California named Tim (TJ), who received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in combat. TJ served in the army in Afghanistan.

This official sneak peek contains footage of an intense firefight between TJ's platoon and the Taliban in which he was wounded. Luckily, TJ survived his injuries.

In the sneak peek, we also see TJ's return home. It's hard to imagine what it must be like to adjust back into civilian life after seeing combat, but this documentary provides us with important insights into that process.

Check out the sneak peek:

Millennials have grown up with the War on Terror. For most of us, 9/11 was an extremely formative event. As a consequence of the horrific events of that day, our country has been at war for most, if not all, of our lives.

The youngest members of this generation were born in 2000. A year later, their country would invade Afghanistan, sparking the longest conflict in the history of the United States.

Thirteen years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the war is still not fully over. Even after its official cessation at the end of this year, American troops will continue to reside in the country. Thus, it seems that the United States will be involved in the Middle East for many years to come.

The War on Terror has been long, costly and unpopular. Yet, regardless of our position on the conflict itself, we cannot forget to thank and commend those who have served.

The American military is comprised entirely of volunteers. These brave men and women have willingly risked life and limb in order to protect this country. Their selfless example cannot be forgotten. Our privileges and safety are a product of their sacrifice.

It's easy to ignore something that feels distant and unfamiliar. For most of this generation, the War on Terror has been a series of images in the news. Yet, for those who have fought in it, it's something they will never forget.

As the War in Afghanistan comes to a close, more and more soldiers will return home. Those who have never seen combat cannot truly understand what these individuals have been through. Regardless of your feelings on the War on Terror, or war in general, we must be there to support these men and women.

Moreover, it's important that we don't forget the sacrifice of those who served in the other wars this country has fought in.

Veterans Day is not about any single conflict, rather, it's about recognizing all of those who have served.

Today, veterans continue to face many challenges. On any given night of the week, about 60,000 veterans are homeless.

As the National Coalition For Homeless Veterans notes, these homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America.

Additionally, in 2013 more than 986,000 veterans under the age of 64 reported suffering from poverty.

There are also high rates of substance abuse and suicide among veterans. Likewise, many veterans suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other mental health issues.

Tragically, 22 veterans take their own lives every single day. Concurrently, they are not offered adequate access to mental health services. Many veterans also face delays in disability claims.

There is no excuse for this. As a country, we must do more to support the brave individuals who stood up in defense of their nation. Every politician, family and community must be involved in this effort.

With that said, it's important that we do not approach veterans with pity. Veterans are not broken; they don't need to be treated as victims.

Rather, we must recognize how much they have done for this country and continue to do. Despite the challenges they face, veterans still have their whole lives ahead of them and are hopeful about the future.

Hence, on this Veterans Day, thank those who have served, remember their sacrifice and hope that future generations will never have to endure the horrors of war.