Afghanistan War after 9/11: a family’s story

Remembering 9/11

EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The United States’ war in Afghanistan is over as we approach the 20th anniversary of what started it all.

Eyewitness News takes a look at the impact the 9/11 and the war had on one Lackawanna County family who lost one of their own in the crossfire.

No American war has lasted longer than our nation’s engagement in Afghanistan. It all began 20 years ago after terrorists from Al Queda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against the United States.

“You hear one plane going and then there’s another one and another one and another one and it was like ‘oh my God, what is going on in this world’? It was a really scary thing to go through,” Joanna Johnson said.

Two planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York City, one hit the Pentagon just outside of Washington D.C. and the final plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

This dark day in American history resulted in thousands of us troops being sent overseas to fight in the war.
Patriots like Scranton-native Lance Corporal Larry Johnson.

“He came home that day and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to the Marines,” Joanna said.

“He said he always wanted to be a veterinarian and one day he came home and said ‘I’m going to the Marines’, and it was a big shock,” Johnson’s stepfather, Jeff Whitney said.

He says Johnson was outgoing, well-liked and always had a sense of humor. But above all, he was proud to be a United States Marine.

“There was times he was on the phone. I said, ‘Larry what are you doing?’ He’d say, ‘oh, we’re taking over’. You’d hear bombs and machine guns,” Whitney said.

“I said ‘love you’. He said ‘love you too’. And he said, ‘I’ll come home Mom don’t worry’,” Joanna said.

“On February 18, 2010, Lance Corporal Larry Johnson was conducting a dismounted patrol in a high-threat location within margin. They arrived at a door which was wired with an IED, which is an improvised displosive device that detonated,” Whitney said.

“I just wanted to die with him. When you lose your child like that, all I can still think about is, was he yelling for me? Was he wanting me to help him?” Joanna said.

Lance Corporal Larry Johnson is one of over 2,400 service members to make the ultimate sacrifice in the war against Afghanistan, including the 13 men and women who lost their lives in an attack outside the Kabul Airport on August 26th.

“When those 13 got killed, it was just like it started all over again. I just feel bad for all of these parents who are going to get the knock on the door. It’s like a nightmare. It just brought it all back again. 11 years later,” Joanna said.

The parents of 13 more patriots only left with empty uniforms and videos to look back on.

The Lackawanna County 9/11 Committee will hold a special 20th anniversary vigil at Nay Aug Park at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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