“A cold, dark day”: Military community holds moment of silence for fallen troops

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 7:18 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The Onslow County Civic Affairs Committee, retired war veterans, and community members joined together to observe a moment of silence on Friday for the active military service members who lost their lives in the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune was among the Marines deployed to aid in the evacuation efforts. American forces were evacuating Afghan citizens from Kabul before being attacked by a Taliban suicide bomber.

The Pentagon has not yet released the names of those killed or where they were stationed.

Veterans who met along with other community members at the Freedom Fountain in Jacksonville to pay their respects spoke to WITN about some of the emotions they felt after hearing the news of the attacks.

Onslow County holds moment of silence for Marines.
Onslow County holds moment of silence for Marines.(Deric Rush)

“So many innocent people died yesterday. It just angers me. It’s so hurtful that innocent lives were lost. Why,” said Raymond Fields, a Marine who recently retired in January.

That could easily be me. I didn’t re-enlist, but if I did that could easily be me. My daughter could be without a father today,” Fields continued.

Retired Sgt. Maj. Joseph Houle, who is the current operations director for the Museum of the Marine in Jacksonville spoke about the emotional turmoil the sight of these events caused his son.

“I have a son who did seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, okay? And what this has done; it has brought those memories back for the friends and the Marines and the soldiers that he lost when he was deployed,” said Houle.

Raquel Painter, who is also a retired Sgt. Maj., and current president of the Onslow County United Way said she also served in Afghanistan; saying that the events that happened on Aug. 26th made her think back to her missions.

“I got to encounter a lot with the women and the children of Afghanistan. They want what every mother wants. They want education for their children a safe place for their children to live. So it was really heartbreaking. It brought a lot of emotions,” said Painter.

Over 100 Afghans and 13 Americans were killed in the suicide bombing. Governor Roy Cooper ordered all flags be lowered to half staff in honor of the troops who lost their lives.

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