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We Grieve Together: Wisconsin veterans come together in the aftermath of Afghanistan withdrawal

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 30, 2021

MILWAUKEE — On Monday, the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center hosted a conversation, "We Grieve Together," connecting local veterans of all generations in the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan.

Veterans from Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam expressed feeling a multitude of emotions including anger, sadness, worry, guilt and relief.

While the military has been a guide and teacher for many service members, there is no road map for grief.

"I learned the night before a big mission how to operate a mine sweeper, just read this little easy manual and I could successfully find bombs in the ground to avoid stepping on. [A manual] doesn't exist for what we're talking about today," said Afghanistan veteran Sam Rogers.

War Memorial

Rogers and other Afghanistan veterans in the room hope to rely on the experience and wisdom of veterans from other wars, but know the Afghanistan withdrawal is also creating new wounds for older vets.

"Anybody who had gone to Afghanistan, of course they have images and they have maybe names and they know people, and that's a kind of hurt. But Vietnam veterans have an old wound, that this is a new wound on top of. So old wounds are being triggered," said Dr. Eric Roush, an Iraq veteran and now a psychologist who works with veterans.

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Dr. Roush said reaching out to other veterans with similar experiences can help you navigate grief. He and those at the War Memorial Center hope Monday's conversation is a step toward building a greater network of support for veterans who are hurting right now.

The War Memorial Center can also help connect veterans with resources like peer support, counseling, church groups and even veteran sports organizations.

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