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After Serving at Ground Zero, Going to Afghanistan ‘Felt Right’ to These New Yorkers

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New York National Guard Lieutenant Colonel William Snyder with an interpreter instructing a group of Afghan soldiers how to drive a Humvee in 2008. (Lieutenant Colonel William Snyder)

​​William Snyder still remembers the acrid smell of burning jet fuel and crushed concrete mixed with the dust, soot, and ash that covered virtually everything at Ground Zero.

He remembers daily walks past the rubble where the Twin Towers had been, and the smashed and twisted hook-and-ladder truck, and realizing that anyone who’d been inside it almost certainly could not have survived. He remembers the windows blown out of the surrounding buildings, damage not captured in much of the TV footage, and the office paper blowing through the streets.

Snyder had been teaching eighth-grade history at a school about seven hours away …

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