U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Thaddius S. Dawkins II.

In the darkness around Fort Bragg's York Theater, hundreds of families alternated between smiles and holding back tears.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Marvin Krause.

Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Eric C. Schwartz

“So did you deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan?” is a question that I dread. I often feel ashamed that the answer is no. I am sometimes enraged that the answer was supposed to be yes. But even more so, I am frustrated that answering no means that many discount my service because the public only understands these two conflicts.

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