Free World - September 15, 2021

Sergeant First Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, and an Army Ranger were shot a…


Sergeant First Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, and an Army Ranger were shot and killed on Feb. 8, 2020. An Afghan service member turned his gun on them just three weeks before the U.S. signed a landmark peace deal with the Taliban. Despite the tragedy, the Gutierrez family managed to take a measure of solace in the fact that their son would be one of the last soldiers to die in the nation’s longest war. The pain, they thought, would stop with them. But in late August, a suicide bomber had killed more than 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members at the Kabul airport. The grief that Sylvia and Javier had endured over the past year and a half would now be felt by yet another group of shattered U.S. families, a new set of bereaved parents. Becoming a Gold Star family is an honor that nobody seeks, writes W.J. Hennigan. No one can fathom the heartache endured by the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters and sons of the fallen. “There’s an emptiness,” Sylvia says. “I feel like I’ll never be whole again.” Read more at the link in bio. Photograph by @pvanagtmael—@magnumphotos for TIME



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