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.

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Jim McCarthy believes in community reporting, giving back and life on the water. A workout fanatic, diver and a bogey-golfer, Jim loves chicken wings, Marvel movies and sports.