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One lasting impact of 9/11: America's longest war

Outgoing U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, second from left, listens as incoming U.S. Army Gen. Austin Miller, third from left, looks at him before the change of command ceremony starts at Resolute Support headquarters, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Seventeen years later, the war on terror rages on.

For former Special Forces Green Beret Michael Rodriguez, who is known to his friends as “Rod,” it’s a family affair.

“I served. My wife served and we just welcomed our son home from Afghanistan earlier this year." said Rodriguez. "He’s my oldest of the three boys and all he knows is a post 9/11 war."

According to the Department of Defense Post 9/11 wars have cost the U.S. government $1.5 trillion

Other estimates believe the cost is as high as $5.6 trillion, not to mention the lives lost and the longevity.

“For the very first time in our 242 years as a nation, those individuals that were born after the country entered into war can enlist in the United States Armed Services,” Rodriguez said.

It’s a humbling milestone for a war, which experts often say, still has no end in sight.

Seth Jones, the Director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of “In the Graveyard of Empires - America’s War in Afghanistan", said the United States continues to struggle, trying to pave a path to victory with tanks and troops.

“These wars are not and should never have been identified as primarily military ones. They are primarily political and ideological ones,” Jones said in an interview Tuesday.

Combined, the wars have come to be known as the Global War on Terror and will be the first ever conflict to get a National War Memorial before it ends, another sign of the magnitude of this multi-generational conflict.

It’s why “Rod” is now the director of the project, and says in this case waiting to build it would have been a mistake.

“The most important things that we will do the global war on terror memorial it will provide a point of unity, a point of education, a point of healing as a nation,” he said.

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