The American flag flies at half-staff at the Upper Keys VFW Post 10211 and Arthur’s Island Kitchen in Key Largo on Friday, Aug. 27. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

U.S. flags across the country were lowered to half-staff beginning on Thursday, Aug. 26, following the attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan that left 13 U.S. service members dead, around 80 Afghan civilians deceased and many more injured. 

In the Keys, veteran and Key Largo resident Brian Mundey stopped by the Upper Keys VFW Post 10211 to lower the flag not long after reports came in on the attacks. Mundey, who’s a trustee at the VFW post, served three combat tours as an Army Airborne Ranger. He served in Afghanistan in 2005 and Iraq from 2006 to 2007. 

Mundey said a flood of thoughts and emotions ran through him as the news broke of the attacks. 

“Anybody has gone through loss, whether it’s a close family member or grandparent. When it comes to the military and losing a brother you start thinking about their families,” he said. “You start thinking about the logistics of that doorbell, the Thanksgivings and Christmases that will never be the same.

“Even those who were wounded, and it may not have been physically but psychologically, it weighs heavy on you and never goes away. Ever.” he continued. “You start to think about the guys in Vietnam and what they went through.”

Mundey said he immediately lowered his flag at his house to half-staff. He then reached out to VFW Post 10211 Commander Dennis Ward to do the same.

“Ward said ‘Absolutely, 100%.’”

Flags will fly at half-staff at government buildings, public places, embassies and other facilities until sunset on Monday, Aug. 30. to honor the U.S. service members killed in the Kabul bombing.

“What it’s about right now is those families who are forever changed, those service members who are going to come back different and just making sure we can do as much as we can from here,” Mundey said.

Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.