By Kathleen Kenna
It’s our longest war, but most Americans ignore it. I can’t and I won’t: The U.S. Special Forces saved my life in Afghanistan.
Today, on the 11th anniversary of American involvement in the Afghanistan war — the war on terrorism, whatever label makes you comfortable — I give thanks for the women and men who risked their lives to get me to safety, and life-saving medical care. They risked their lives to save me and my husband, Hadi Dadashian, who saved my life after we were attacked by alleged al-Qaeda fighters.
This always sounds dramatic. It was.
The story is well-told. My gratitude to the U.S. Special Forces is boundless.
I am not pro-war. I am a rehabilitation counselor and certified trauma professional who will do whatever it takes to help women and men wounded at war. (See my Linkedin profile.)
This also sounds dramatic.
It is the strongest commitment I have made in my life, next to the commitment of unconditional love I make to my husband and our families. It is a commitment I have made, publicly and privately, to my extended family — Lt. Col. Mike Wright and all the Mud Puppy troops who saved my life.
I became an American citizen this year to help veterans. That is the depth of my commitment, and it cannot begin to repay the courage and generosity of those who saved me, from U.S. Air Force medics to military surgeons and medical staff — especially nurses, God bless them — in four countries (Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Germany).
On the eve of Canadian Thanksgiving, I am most grateful to those who saved my life immediately after the attack in Gardez, Afghanistan, at the start of this, America’s longest war.
There are many more Americans and Canadians whose kindness helped me heal, and I thank them.
But the recovery took years, and I understand, most intimately, a little of what returning troops endure after war.
My gratitude is personal. And my abiding commitment to repaying the selflessness of U.S. Special Forces, is public.
Count on it.
Kathleen Kenna is a rehabilitation counselor and newly certified trauma professional whose clinical specialty is PTS (post-traumatic stress) and TBI (traumatic brain injury) in war survivors, military or civilian.