The Boston Marathon bombing happened just before my unit deployed in 2013. It was our final drill weekend and we were going over our packing lists, making sure we were ready to go, when the news broke across several television screens at once.
In the following week, America learned about the Richard family—a mother in a coma, a daughter maimed, a son killed—by the ruthless actions of two terrorists who set off an improvised explosive device (IED) at the iconic race. The atrocity put the purpose of our upcoming deployment into sharper focus.
As we grieved leaving behind our spouses and children, we knew we would be doing so to protect families like the Richards. IEDs are weapons of war and are meant for warzones. By engaging terrorists on the other side of the world, we hoped, fewer of these weapons would be employed against regular citizens.
This was much of the mentality after 9/11 as well. A generation