KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Having lost their sons in the war on terror, two metro parents are hopeful bringing thousands of troops home will save their lives. But they are also quick to point out, once they're home safe, Americans need to pay them back for their service.
The metro and this region has lost dozens of men and women in war. Parents of two soldiers killed say, parades and special homecomings are deserved, but we need to be prepared to help those who come home.
"Just because you don't see a visible wound does not mean they' not, that they don't have issues," explained Debbie Austin.
She lost her son PFC Shane Austin in 2006. Since then, she's done all she can to help those who've lost someone in war and families who've had some one return home safely. She's seen first-hand how important it is to continue to support them.
The announcement of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is bittersweet, she wishes her son was coming home, but relieved families won't have to deal with a horrific knock at the door.
"It makes me happy for the families that do have loved ones over there, I really would love to know another family did not receive the knock at the door with the words, 'we regret to inform you.'"
When the troops come home, Austin says everyone needs to be ready to chip in and help get them acclimated to society.
"Have proper jobs to offer them, have the health care they need to help them with PTSD and the traumatic brain injuries. We need to be there so they don't have to fight the new battle when they come home," she said.
James Butler agrees. His son, Sgt. Jacob Butler, was the first Kansan to die in the war on terror. He's heard the President's plan: Bring home all but about 10,000 home by the end of this year, then another 5,000 by the end of 2015. Then, ultimately have the number of troops in Afghanistan down to 1,000 by 2016.
Butler wants them all home, but he also wants to make sure it's the right time.
"I believe we should be ready, we shouldn't make the same mistake that they had made when we pulled them out of Iraq," Butler explained.
He doesn't want the hard work the troops have fought and died for to be in vain.
"If we do, everything these young men and women have given for this country and other countries is lost," Butler said.
President Obama said the war on terror is not over, but the resources made available by leaving Afghanistan, will help bolster counter terrorism efforts in other countries.