Father of Sgt. Matt Maupin reflects on Iraq, 10 years later - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

A decade in Iraq hits home for the Tri-State

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Yellow ribbon hangs outside of the Yellow Ribbon Support Center in Eastgate Yellow ribbon hangs outside of the Yellow Ribbon Support Center in Eastgate
Keith Maupin, father of Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin Keith Maupin, father of Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin
EASTGATE, OH (FOX19) -

Nearly 4,500 American soldiers killed. Tuesday marked the 10 year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

So many families have been affected, including the family of Staff Sergeant Matt Maupin, captured and killed in Iraq.

His father, Keith Maupin, spent Tuesday at the Yellow Ribbon Support Center, boxing up packages for troops overseas and working to keep the memory alive of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"I've talked to a lot of gold star families, and I generally tell them the same things. It's my job to make sure that Matt's not forgotten. It's your job to make sure that yours is not. But it's our job to make sure that none of them are," said Keith Maupin.

It has been nine years since Sgt. Maupin went missing in action. For his father, the focus is not the war, but rather on the soldiers.

"There's still 60-65,000 over in Afghanistan and some of those guys don't have running water, so they need our support regardless of what you think about this war. It's not your job to send them or bring them back, but it's your job as an American to support them and that's what we do," said Keith Maupin.

For Staff Sgt. Anthony Vaccariello, who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, he also cannot believe it's been a decade.

"It doesn't feel like I've even been home for four years. It's kind of surreal," said Vaccariello.

When asked if he would do it all again, he replied, "Absolutely."

He also added that he stays in touch with people he met during his tours, and with politics aside, felt that his presence made a difference there.

"We understood things like that when we hear about the tragic shootings in Newtown, or Aurora, or the DC sniper. That's when we feel fear as an American public, but that was something they dealt with day after day. But for their kids to be able to go to school 5 days a week and not have to worry about things, that was nice because we were always around," said Vaccariello.

The Yellow Ribbon Support Center will host it's annual 'Let Us Never Forget Dinner' on April 13th, an event that raises scholarship money awarded in the name of fallen soldiers.

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