Everyone's Talking About How Afghanistan Affects Trump, So Here Are 7 Reminders To Not Forget The Troops

Our president isn't sending numbers overseas. He's sending some of our finest, and they deserve recognition.

On August 2, President Trump delivered a televised address on Afghanistan to troops at Fort Myer in Virginia and outlined his plan for the U.S.'s 16-year war in the country. Though the president was previously critical of the war and had argued for military withdrawal from Afghanistan, his announcement Monday night confirmed his administration would be sending an additional undisclosed number of troops to the unstable country. CNN reports about 8,400 troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan.

Trump's primetime announcement on his plans for troops in Afghanistan last night has understandably proven a hot topic in the past 24 hours, as pundits debate how it reflects on his promises and will shape his presidency. Though those discussions are valid and important, it's also important not to lose sight of the fact that the thousands of men and women who will be putting their lives on the line in the coming months and years (in addition to the scores of American armed forces who have done so already) will be most impacted by this latest development. Their sacrifices are worth remembering, and their selflessness worth celebrating.

In an effort to ensure that these brave men and women aren't lost in the shuffle, we've compiled a list of seven times everyday Americans demonstrated their respect and appreciation for our troops. Maybe they'll inspire the rest of us.

1. When a good Samaritan bought a plane ticket for a stranded soldier.

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When Josh Rainey spotted a soldier waiting to fly standby at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport just before Memorial Day weekend in 2017, he opened his wallet and spent nearly $350 so the soldier, 19-year-old Keaton Tilson, could fly home and see his family for the first time in several months.

Tilson, who had been trying to fly standby to St. Louis for two days prior, credits Rainey for allowing him to surprise his family. "I'm very appreciative, because if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't be here right now," he told Fox News.

2. When a rescue organization reunited an Army specialist with IED-detecting dog he'd served with.

As previously reported by A Plus, Army Specialist Vance McFarland and his canine partner, Ikar, spent nearly a year together in Afghanistan finding hidden IEDs, but when McFarland returned home Ikar was forced to stay behind and continue working. When the pooch's next mission fell through, he was abandoned and sent to kennel, where he lived for 17 months before Mission K9 Rescue stepped in.

Upon verifying that McFarland and Ikar were partners, the foundation flew the dog home to be reunited with his pal. Ikar is now retired and living with McFarland and his family.

3. When a United Airlines pilot surprised his soldier son.

United Airlines pilot Captain Mario Lopes pulled off one epic surprise when he agreed to pilot a military-chartered flight in April 2016, taking his son's unit from Kuwait back home to the United States. See the moment father and son were reunited, below, and try not to tear up.

4. When Dominos employees delivered a random act of kindness to veterans.

When retired veteran Justin Lane ordered a Dominos pizza from his hospital bed at Brooke Army Medical Center in April of last year, he got way more than he bargained for. According to KENS 5 San Antonio, Lane lost both of his legs during a tour of Afghanistan. He was in the hospital because of nerve pain and ordered a pizza for dinner.

When Lane's meal arrived, it included a get well card signed by every member of the Domino's team at Fort Sam Houston and some extra treats.

5. When a soldier's hometown gave him a welcome he'll never forget.

When Lt. Chuck Nadd returning from a tour in Afghanistan in early 2014, he got a welcome back he will remember for decades to come. Anheuser-Busch's private jet flew Nadd from Fort Drum in upstate New York to his hometown in central Florida, and he was given a true hero's welcome by people in his town.

6. When a little girl's friendship led to thousands of letters sent to service memebrs overseas.

Savannah Maddison wanted to do something kind for a friend after the pal's dad was deployed to Afghanistan, so, in 2014, she recorded a song. Realizing she could do even more to help, Maddison started writing letters to her best friend's dad's battalion and soon other neighborhood kids joined in. "Savannah's Soldiers" was born.

According to Fox News Insider, the organization sent out more than 75,000 letters in 2014 and is still thriving today.

7. When a pushup charity challenge made a difference for military families.

In 2015, the #DropAndGiveMe10 pushup charity challenge raised a lot of money for military families. The challenge, which required participants to do 10 pushups and donate a chosen amount of money for each pushup to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, attracted attention from celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Matt Lauer, and Bear Grylls.

Cover images via the U.S. Department of Energy / Simon Edelman and The National Guard / Tech. Sgt. Kurt Briner.

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