Veteran and pastor shares experiences, lessons learned from service in Afghanistan
As the world watches turmoil unfold in Afghanistan, veteran Thomas Burke shared his story of how he still carries the lessons he learned in the country, and how he applies them to his career as a local pastor at Norfield Congregational Church today.
Men and women who served in the war in Afghanistan say they are heartbroken by the Taliban taking over their capital.
Pastor Thomas Burke knows firsthand about the courage of the children in Afghanistan from when he served there in 2009-2010.
Burke says that the Afghan children are some of the bravest children he's ever met, and his heart goes out to them daily.
He says he quickly learned the Afghan language so he could better communicate with them.
Pastor Thomas Burke says the brave children he met who taught themselves how to read in the face of Taliban inspired him to give back to his community with a new way of service.
He shared, "My main PTSD event was watching children who would bring us roadside bombs or tell us where they were, and my main event was watching or having to clean that up after an RPG warhead exploded on them on their way."
Today, Burke says he feels the Afghanistan allies feel abandoned.
Associate professor of national security at UNH Dr. Matthew Schmidt says it will be a long road as the Afghans work to re settle.
Dr. Schmidt also had a message to veterans and said, "The honor of having served your country doesn't rest with the outcome of the war."
He further explained, "The biggest lesson is for them to understand that war goes well beyond the battlefield, in fact most war takes place outside of two opposing sides shooting at each other."