Today marks two painful years since 13 U.S. troops tragically lost their lives in a Kabul airport attack that followed President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal. In remembrance of this somber anniversary, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff.
“Two years ago today, we tragically lost 13 brave servicemen and women in Afghanistan,” the Speaker said in a statement on Saturday. “I have directed the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be lowered to half-staff in honor of these American heroes.” McCarthy also posted a list of the names of the 13 servicemembers killed on August 26, 2021 in the attack.
Two years ago today, we tragically lost 13 brave servicemen and women in Afghanistan. I have directed the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be lowered to half-staff in honor of these American heroes. pic.twitter.com/BTMrRNl5Av
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) August 26, 2023
The move is in stark contrast with the relative silence of the Democrat-controlled Senate, which has not weighed in on the issue. Neither Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) nor Democrat Senate Whip Dick Durbin (IL) have yet made any statements in support of Speaker McCarthy’s decision to lower the flags or to recognize the two-year anniversary of the tragedy in Afghanistan.
Other Republican lawmakers, however, have stepped up to mark the milestone. House Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) reiterated the party’s vow to “hold President Biden and his Administration accountable for their disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal.”
Today, we honor the memory of the brave 13 Servicemembers who gave their lives for our country during Joe Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Their sacrifice was not in vain, and our nation must never forget their service.
Read my full statement. pic.twitter.com/sAH62tB9st
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) August 26, 2023
Meanwhile, Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) praised the “heroes and their loved ones” for their sacrifice, while Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) said that “we are still waiting for President Biden to take responsibility for choosing politics over the safety of our service members, our allies, and the people of Afghanistan.”
Today marks two years since we lost 13 brave U.S. servicemembers in a heinous attack at the Kabul airport during Pres. Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. These heroes and their loved ones have our deepest gratitude and we are forever grateful for their sacrifice.
— Senator John Boozman (@JohnBoozman) August 26, 2023
Biden has repeatedly denied making any mistakes in the withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying last month that he “was right” and urging reporters to “read your press.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, also a target of resignation calls, highlighted the “selflessness and valor” of those killed in the attack as we mark this painful milestone.
However, one victim’s father has called on Biden and his top aides to resign over the Afghanistan withdrawal, citing more integrity in “our son’s little toes” than amongst all of the administration’s combined.
As the flags fly at half-staff at the U.S. Capitol, today should serve as a reminder of the price of war and of the ultimate sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. May the memories of the 13 brave servicemembers continue to be honored and may their families continue to receive the full support of our nation.