Today marks the 11-year anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom and the first American strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets inside Afghanistan.
It also marks 11 years that our military families, including those dealing with autism, have been tremendously impacted by the cost of service. Not only has the country lost over 2,000 brave Americans since that time, but there has been a tremendous price on the homefront as well.
An estimated one in 88 military children have autism spectrum disorder. If you contrast this to the number of deployments in that time, there are a significant number of families impacted.
The challenge is providing a stable household that children with autism need, complicated by the fact the service members — one or both parents — could have to deploy from 6 to 18 month away from the home.
For those of you who have kept the mission afloat on the homefront, you are our heroes. Know that without your support, devotion and energy, our children would fail. As many of our families would attest, it’s hell in a warzone to fight the enemy and worry about what is happening back home.
To all our families who have deployed to Afghanistan or supported the operations (which is about all of you), we salute you today. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating Oct. 7, 2012, as Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans Day, but every day we are here for you. Keep up the fight!
For some insight into Afghanistan, take a look at 30 Days Through Afghanistan, produced a few years back by two Air Force journalists who blogged and vlogged for 35 straight days around the entire country.