Afghanistan’s burn pits are killing American war veterans

Why am I still alive? How have I survived this long? Those are the questions on my mind four years after being handed a death sentence in the form of Stage IV colon cancer. A death sentence rendered a month before my son’s first birthday. After years of fighting to survive, the moment I’ve dreading came to be – chemotherapy stopped working. My fight is not over, though. I’m still fighting, because I’ve realized the legacy I can leave behind.

I’m a Vermont Army National Guard veteran, who completed combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. One thing they had in common was inescapable smoke emitted from burn pits outside the base where we lived. I still remember the oxygen being sucked from the air as burn pit smoke engulfed everything in its path.

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