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Afghan & Iraq Wars Take Huge Toll On Plano Family

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PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) – It’s America’s first war to last a decade and it began 10 years ago today. The war in Afghanistan couldn’t come fast enough for Americans eager for justice after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

October 7 also marks the day that the course of a Plano family was changed forever.

Sherilyn Melton never imagined that October 7, 2001 would be such an important day in her life.

“If I stop to think about it all it does is get overwhelming.”

The Plano mom watched, with other Americans, images of the flashing green lights from Afghanistan that signaled U.S. military action, a month after 9/11.

Within two years her son Jake and son-in-law Jeremy would be in Army basic training and soon deployed overseas.

Melton reads emails that she received from her boys and new messages posted on a Facebook page. She also has a pile of unwashed clothes waiting for them — she does it to keep their memory alive.

“I can’t take either one of their names out of my phones. It’s just hard,” she said.

Jeremy was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. Jake died from injuries suffered in Iraq last December.

Melton looks back on the start of war in Afghanistan with both reverence and regret.

“I feel that we had to do something,” she said. “[But] I wish we could take it back and no one had to lose lives.”

Old shoes, CDs, and even furniture are tucked away inside the Melton home. They, like so many families of fallen soldiers, are having a hard time moving on.

When asked if she ever finds herself lonely, Melton said, “I talk to them everyday. I know they talk to me back.”

As the wars her son and son-in-law fought in come to a close, Melton’s life still revolves around their accomplishments. She recently sat looking at an interview one of the men did for a local newspaper.

Despite it all, Melton said she believe the sacrifice of her boys has made the world a better place. “If it wasn’t for my boys, and boys like them, what would it have been like?”

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