I recently saw an article about Steven Xiarhes and Eric Emond. Several months after his son killed in Afghanistan, Xiarhes met Emond at an event in Massachusetts where a few veterans were planning to launch a nonprofit to honor fallen service members. Xiarhos recalled walking into the room “a Gold Star father with a broken heart” and instantly bonded with Emond, a Marine like his son. Xiarhos recently learned that Emond, a 39-year-old Marine turned Army Green Beret, had been killed in Afghanistan during his seventh tour.

Having been in the military, I question why anyone with a wife and three children should have been subjected to seven tours. Of course there are those who just keep volunteering, just as I did in an older war, but seven tours regardless is insane, no matter how much a soldier volunteers. Someone has got to stop this, with all due respect to the wives and families.

At the beginning of our war in Afghanistan, I recall urged the commander of the Maine National Guard to go to Washington and demand to know why so many guardsmen from Maine were being sent to Afghanistan. Never did get an answer.

I hate to suggest that perhaps money comes into the equation, with soldiers who want to rack up seniority for retirement. It’s a nice deal but not worth dying for, in my opinion.

I’ll close by saying a prayer for all our military personnel serving in a country that in my opinion we have no reason being in, and I hope and pray we get out soon so all our men and women can come home to have Christmas with their loved ones.

Frank D. Slason


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