Military families reflect as 20-year Afghanistan conflict comes to an end

[anvplayer video=”5053203″ station=”998131″]

CHILI, N.Y. (WHEC) — As troops put Afghanistan in their past, local families say, they are too. People in Chili gathered Monday night to remember the lives lost in Kabul, and to honor their own loved ones who died fighting for our country.

Families say it’s a relief knowing the mission in Afghanistan is over.

"It’s been a rough week for all the veterans, I’m a veteran myself and it’s been a rough week,” Reyita Perez said.

Through the eyes of a veteran, like Perez, seeing the last U.S. troops removed from Afghanistan is a day they thought would never come.

"It’s very important that you support any veteran, any military service member because they pay the ultimate sacrifice,” Perez said.

A group of more than a dozen put mini American Flags into the ground, each one holding a different story. They also shared a moment of silence to honor them all.

Families described how it felt to see this monumental moment in history.

"It’s great to hear that they’re all coming home, it’s been 20 years, 20 long years,” Myrian Rivera said.

Rivera’s son, Daniel, died in 2009 serving in Iraq. She says she wishes she had better advice for the grieving families who lost a loved one after the bombing in Kabul. She relives her experience when her own son finally returned home.

"Seeing my son in a casket coming from Iraq, it was horrible,” Rivera said.

For some, a flag in the ground helps keep memories alive.

"It helps to remember them, you have to remember them and honor them every day,” Rivera added.