“We spent a lot of time and effort to secure that region of the world and to have it kind of just fall apart,” said Christopher Kolomjec, an attorney from Grosse Pointe Farms, who was a Marine major during heavy fighting in Fallujah in 2006 and 2007.

“You can’t help but be extremely disappointed and frustrated that the sacrifice we made might be in vain. For every veteran who has been to Iraq, it is a constant battle to not become bitter.”

Nick Cook, 36, of Grand Ledge did two tours in Iraq and, as an Army troop commander, lost five soldiers.

“For me, it’s very upsetting,” he said, “I watch what’s happening there. My first six months, it was very intense fighting in Baghdad, but then there was prosperity and good news. And to see that now on the verge of collapse, and knowing I lost five soldiers, it’s very hard. These kids may have died in vain.”