In 2013, I wrote a story about how death benefits would not be paid to families who had lost their children in the Afghanistan war -- families which, overnight, had become Gold Star families -- because the government shutdown, then in place, meant there were no funds to fulfill this national obligation. America failed those serving it -- and their relatives.
A lonely four-year-old stands on a patch of waste ground that passes for a football field. This is where he plays, silent and alone. After years in ISIS slavery, Lazem is finally safe. But he has no one to talk to and, until a few days ago, didn't even know his own name.