SWFL Parents of Fallen Soldiers Have Mixed Emotions Over Troop Return to Afghanistan

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Many relatives are returning home after the 20-year war in Afghanistan. But for two families in Southwest Florida, their children are not among those troops.

We spoke to Gold star families Friday which told us why leaving Afghanistan is not good news.

“People are saying right now… ‘Your son died for nothing,’” said Bill Eggers, who disagreed with respect.

Eggers’ son is US Army Captain Daniel Eggers. He died when his Humvee struck a landmine in Afghanistan.

“Our whole family said that, you know, if he died doing what he was doing, it was worth it for him,” Eggers said.

We asked Eggers if it was worth bringing the rest home, and we quickly learned it was a complicated question to ask.

“It was endless war,” Eggers said. “It’s not worth another American victim.”

But Eggers worries the United States is going a little too fast. He fears for civilians – Afghan children and families – left without any American protection.

“They don’t just kill their enemy. These Taliban, they torture them first and then kill them, ”Eggers said. “I can honestly say it’s fucked up if we do it and too bad if we don’t.”

Kim Hayes agrees that bringing our men and women home is complicated.

“When I hear about these wonderful soldiers coming home, it’s mixed emotions for me,” said Hayes.

Hayes’ son is US Army Specialist Steve Tayor Hayes. He was proud to be an American and proud to be an American soldier. After an explosion and a landing accident, he faced severe PTSD in addition to a head injury.

“He walked into my house, opened that door, and it was my boy, but a little hard to recognize,” said Hayes.

After years of trying to cope with all of his pain, Hayes’ son finally died of an accidental drug overdose.

“He had been through a lot,” Hayes said.

President Joe Biden has declared that 90% of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete. All US forces are expected to leave Afghanistan by August 31.

As the active troops are ready to return home, Kim Hayes reflects on what they will return home.

“If there is one little thing you can do to blow the wind in someone’s sails, it’s have a tough day, improve their life a little bit, it just gives them a little strength to carry on another day,” said said Hayes.



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