MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sacrifice is a sacred word for veterans who put their life on the line for America’s freedom.
“In my company and in my battalion we lost a lot of guys, including a good friend of mine from Atlanta, Lance Cpl. Raymon Johnson,” said veteran Brian Lupo.READ MORE: ‘Treating Those Immigrants Like Dogs’: North Miami Mayor Sickened By Images Of Border Patrol Agents Using Whips To Corral Haitian Immigrants
It was on the way home from this Canes game when Lance Cpl. Johnson tried allaying Lupo’s father’s fears. He told him that his son, now a retired Marine Corporal, would be fine on his first deployment to Afghanistan back on, of all days, September 11, 2010.
Ironically, it was the warrior offering up the words of comfort who didn’t make it out alive.
“They were out on a patrol and hit an IED. He was blown up,” recalled Lupo.
Since his tragic death 11 years ago, and well over a year since the last American casualty in Afghanistan, 13 other U.S. service members were killed and dozens more injured Thursday in similarly violent explosions outside Kabul’s airport.
“I think it’s a huge stain, it’s a black eye for the country,” said Lupo.READ MORE: ‘Such A Demonic Spirit’: 70-Year-Old Man Stabbed In Random Attack At Miramar Plaza
“I love my country, die for my country, but I’m absolutely ashamed of my government right now,” said retired Navy man Shepard Horwitz.
Friends Horwitz and Lupo, who both live in Broward, are angry about how things are playing out in Afghanistan.
“It’s just an absolute utter disaster the way this drawdown was handled,” said Lupo.
“Everybody is looking at us like a laughing stock. As a super power, it weakened us,” said Horwitz.
But it didn’t weaken the memory of those who sacrificed it all, like Lance Cpl. Johnson. His brothers in arms are now offering up his own words of encouragement to other veterans.
“Keep your chin up. There’s other service members that are in the same boat you are, and we need each other right now. Reach out to them, check on them, ask how they are doing,” said Lupo. “Talk about it. Don’t be afraid to talk about. Put your emotions out.”MORE NEWS: Florida Cabinet Approves 13-Mile Extension Of Dolphin Expressway
Both veterans agreed it was time to leave Afghanistan, but blame President Joe Biden for how it has unfolded.