I was thirteen the last time I had known my country in peace. Since then, I have spent more than sixty percent of my life as a citizen of a Nation at War. And, yesterday, in Kabul, all the effort of these last 20 years of “Nation Building” disappeared in the very same frantic, whipping-mad copter blades that brought it in.

Or so it seemed to, anyway. The obvious historical comparisons have already been made to death, so I won’t. But I can’t imagine those comparisons are meaningful to those who served. I can’t imagine the cynical reminder of Saigon is much comfort to the 7,000 (and counting) brave who have died in service. Or their families. Or friends. Not even to mention the untold hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Middle East, Persian Gulf, and Central Asia who have and will continue to lose their lives.

I don’t know what it is like to have served, and to come home, and to watch the goal you spent your life’s work defending be taken. All I can think to do is reach out to those I know who have, to provide an arm and an ear.

Women represent one-fifth of America’s service members. Veterans of all stripes should be kept in our hearts, especially in difficult times.

The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255. Press 1.

KQED has provided a list of Bay Area Vet Centers (List is from 2017).

If you or a loved one has a story about serving in the War on Terror that you’d like to share, email [email protected]