Maine’s Travis Mills, New England Veterans Offer Inspiration Amongst Afghanistan Chaos
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England radio personality and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
It goes without saying that, quite bluntly, the world is amidst insanity right now. Between a pandemic that's lasted over a year and quite frankly feels like it could be revving up again, and now the chaos happening in Afghanistan with the Taliban reclaiming control due to American troop withdrawal, it's a volatile time in the world that's created an even bigger divide amongst us.
Staff Sergeant Travis Mills
Enter quite possibly Maine's most recognizable and one of the most beloved veterans from the 207, retired Staff Sgt. Travis Mills. By now, you know Travis' story -- Travis actually served out in Afghanistan and after being hit by an IED, became a quadruple amputee. You also know that it hasn't stopped him at all and he's still conquering the world.
With that said, and the constant motivation that Travis exudes on an hourly, nevermind daily, basis, his words (as spoken to Channel 8 WMTW) about everything happening right now come with more weight. And, in true Travis fashion, despite all the negativity and chaos surrounding the situation, his words reek of positivity; and they're directed not only to his fellow veterans who wonder if the 20-year war was even worth it now, but also civilians wondering the same thing. Spoiler alert: He says it was.
“Just focus on everything you did do, you accomplished and understand that it’s respected it’s thanked. We built hospitals. We built schools. We dug wells for fresh drinking water. We got little kids, women educated, let them go to school and learn how to read and write, and I think that’s powerful and you can’t unteach that.”
And those words come just a few months after he was featured on CNN to discuss how the removal of troops from Afghanistan was the right move.
New England Veterans
While Travis is without a doubt the most recognizable vet from New England, between his motivational speaking tours and, of course, his Travis Mills Foundation, he's not the only New England veteran that is showing up to have the backs of his brothers-in-arms.
Kevin Eaton of Salem, New Hampshire, who has served with the U.S. Army since 2004 and was actually a Squad Leader during combat operations in Bagram, Afghanistan from November 2004 through November 2005, advised a check-in of "battle buddies, veterans, and family members" as well as offering, like Travis, motivational words.
Another New Hampshire veteran, Sergeant Justin Gordon, who served as an assaultman and in demolitions with the United States Marine Corps, offered his services to both veterans and civilians much like Kevin did.
Regarding the recent news with Afghanistan, I'm here to talk to anyone who needs it. Semper Fidelis! Love you all.
One thing is for sure, in a time where the country is divided on multiple levels with multiple factors, New Englanders, both veteran and civilian, always seem to keep the doors and windows open to present a united front.
Like our treasured and valued New England veterans listed above mentioned -- check in on your people, veteran or civilian, and don't suffer in silence. We are resilient, there are people available to talk, and we WILL get through this if we DO in fact take care of each other.