Soldiers’ Mixed Emotions Amid Surge in Support for Troops

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In the wake of Osama bin Laden's death by U.S. forces in Pakistan, there is new attention on those serving in the armed forces, but some soldiers say they are frustrated by the inconsistent appreciation and support.

"The country is patriotic when the good things happen," said Mike Schneider, who was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. "It would be nice if they were still patriotic when times are rough."

Lance Corporal Mario Trejo has been in the Marines since 2007. He says he's never seen the country as united behind the troops as it has been since bin Laden's death.

He says it’s almost as if he and his fellow servicemen have finally been remembered again.

"It really upsets me," Trejo said. "I’ve lost a few brothers and sisters out there … and now that we got him, all of a sudden that changes history and everywhere we go it's 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.'"

A similar sentiment applies for Sgt. Rafael Lee Castro. The father of three began serving in 1995 and saw how dramatically public sentiment has shifted from 9/11 to today.

"I feel the war has been very controversial and a lot of Americans wake up some days and forget about us," said Castro. "They have to remember we are not just doing it for us or our family, but doing it for the whole United States of America."

The undercurrent of frustration is widespread, especially for those who have sacrificed almost everything and even more so for those who have lost loved friends and family members.

While bin Laden’s death is a relief, for those like Trejo, it doesn’t change anything.

Trejo’s Afghanistan deployment papers will still send him off for another seven-month tour at the end of the summer and his wife will still have to worry every day he’s gone.

You can follow Katy on Twitter @KatyTur4NY

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