I did not hear the train at all. I did not hear the horn as it was approaching the intersection. I only heard it right about three seconds before it slammed into the back of the tractor-trailer.Midland, Tx. resident Joe Cobarobio • Discussing the train accident during the parade he was filming on Thursday — a Show of Support parade for veterans of war. Four people died in the accident on Thursday. A dozen of the victims in the accident — whether killed or injured — were veterans of the Iraq or Afghan Wars.
» With plans to leave the region in October, United States and NATO forces are making a final push against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s mountainous Nuristan region. After being expelled from the region, then officially abandoning it altogether, U.S. forces are offering a final round of training and aid for Afghan forces in the area. “There are a lot of Taliban around,” said Mohammad Ghazi, an Afghan militia member being treated at the NATO post in Nuristan. “If the (U.S.) supports the Afghan government it will be very good in future. If not, it will be worse.”
For the first time in nine years Americans are not fighting and dying in Iraq. We are winding down the war in Afghanistan…after a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.President Barack Obama • During a speech given at Arlington National Cemetery this morning, honoring America’s current, former, and fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. While noting that the end of the wars meant an end to this chapter of many citizens’ lives, he also noted that the families of those who lost loved ones will long be affected. “As long as I am president we will make sure you and your loved ones will receive the benefits you have earned and the respect you deserve,” said the President, adding, “America will be there for you.” source (via • follow)
Here’s a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof • In an opinion piece on the death of soldiers after they return home. A few other key stats — more former soldiers have committed suicide after returning home than died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq combined, being a veteran doubles the risk of suicide, and being a veteran between ages 17 and 24 quadruples the risk. Yikes. Read up on this disturbing trend.
» Another blow to U.S.-Afghan relations: With the killing of civilians allegedly at the hands of a U.S. soldier in Kandahar Province, tensions in the region are further rising, just weeks after a Koran-burning incident brought relations between the two countries to an all-time low. Afghan President Hamid Karzai says that 9 children and 3 women were among those killed. “This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved,” the U.S. said in a statement, promising an investigation would follow. The U.S. Embassy also urged calm.
» Afghan War in sharp contrast: Part of the reason for the lack of troop deaths in Iraq is that the war in Afghanistan has picked up. There, it was a record month where 66 Americans died — a total which was much higher than it would’ve been due to the deadly Chinook helicopter crash that killed 30 highly-specialized troops.
» That’s a little high for David Petraeus’ liking: Obama is putting the finishing touches on a speech where he plans to outline the plan for what the country will do about getting troops out of Afghanistan — roughly 100,000 are there now, and Obama could remove roughly 30,000 by late 2012 or early 2013 — the first 10,000 or so this year. Which means, of course, that we’ll still be there a long while no matter what our boy Obama decides.