Editor's Note: Jerry Newberry, Communications Director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is currently embedded with the troops in Afghanistan.
It doesn't take much time with the troops in Afghanistan to understand where many of them are coming from.
First of all, let me preface things by stating I haven't been here very long. But for the most part, our service people aren't exactly introverts. They say what they mean and mean what they say.
And so it's good to feel reassured that in spite of it all - the weather, long separations from family and friends, the food, bugs, rockets, RPG's, IED's, discouraging polls and political rhetoric back home - the men and women of today's military believe in what they are doing... and they take great pride in doing it.
They wish everyone back home felt the same way.
The sad part is that when it comes to public awareness, the troops serving in Afghanistan have, for the most part, taken a back seat to their comrades serving in Iraq.
Americans have forgotten that "Operation Enduring Freedom" - the initial major assault against the Taliban and al Qaeda - was launched here, and that the fight continues today as service people are still fighting, dying and being wounded.
In their own words:
"We're fighting the forgotten war here in Afghanistan. It's just like the Korean War."
"Nobody cares about any of us serving here... maybe if people KNEW we were here, it might make a difference."
"It hurts sometimes to be sent over here for so long, and it's like 'Joe Blow Public' couldn't care less."
"We're forgotten because the war doesn't affect most Americans. They don't care because they don't have to sacrifice a damned thing - out of sight, out of mind."
Like I said, they say what they mean and mean what they say.