Afghanistan crisis has Gold Star mom remembering Marine son she lost in 2010

A Washington state Gold Star mom discussed her heartbreak Tuesday at seeing the Taliban take over Afghanistan following a withdrawal of U.S. forces.

It’s been more than 11 years since her son, Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward, 19, a Marine from Redmond, died fighting in the country.

“Today is – would have been – Eric’s 31st birthday,” his mom, Monica McNeal told Q13 FOX of Seattle. “The hardest thing right now is the fact that all these emotions are being resonated.”

“Today is – would have been – Eric’s 31st birthday. The hardest thing right now is the fact that all these emotions are being resonated.”

— Monica McNeal, Gold Star mother

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Ward died in a “hostile incident” in southern Afghanistan in 2010, according to the U.S. Defense Department. A machine-gunner, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Seattle Times reported. 

Ward joined the Marines, just like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had done before him.

“He was a natural leader,” his father Steven Ward said in 2010. “He was proud to serve. He was proud for his family. He was strong.”

“He was a natural leader. He was proud to serve. He was proud for his family. He was strong.”

— Steven Ward, father of fallen Marine

On Tuesday, McNeal wondered what her son would be doing today. 

“Would he be married? Would he be having kids? I don’t know,” she said. 

U.S soldiers stand guard along a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. (Associated Press)

Her questions were raised as thousands of Americans and refugees were hoping to fly out of Afghanistan following the Taliban’s stunningly swift takeover of the country. 

McNeal said it was difficult seeing people desperate to escape, including thousands of Afghans who rushed into Kabul’s main airport Monday.

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“It breaks my heart because there are people there dying, literally dying to get out of the country,” she told Q13 FOX. 

Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward and his mother, Monica McNeal (Q13 FOX of Seattle)

Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward and his mother, Monica McNeal (Q13 FOX of Seattle)

The takeover led her to wonder if her son’s sacrifice more than a decade ago was worth it. 

“In my emotions, I have a hard time describing, because some parts of me I’m angry,” McNeal said, according to Q13 FOX. “I don’t want to think all of the bloodshed and the deaths we’re for no good reason.”

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“You don’t want to say it was for naught,” she added. “And I don’t want to say that, because I know my son was very proud serving as a U.S. Marine.”

Redmond is about 15 miles east of Seattle. 

Soruce: https://www.foxnews.com/us/washington-state-gold-star-mom-marine-son-birthday-afghanistan

By Steve

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