Understanding Our Lives


Today, I read a comment left by CaliValiGirl that really struck a chord with me.

I am not angry with the Army about this. I am not angry with the Republicans or the Democrats. I am angry with the apathy of the general public. I am angry that a small percentage of the US is carrying this huge burden. I am angry that most people in their day to day lives don't really care about what is going on in Iraq or Afghanistan, but complain that gas is more expensive, but really their lives haven't changed one iota since the 2003. And then they pretend to argue on my behalf saying it's criminal that families have to celebrate holidays without their soldiers...like that is something new to military families. I am angry with the great divide between the American public and the military.

Last week, I was explaining the nature of deployments to someone who had no idea that even in peacetime, deployments occur. "That's interesting," she said. Of course, you can't compare a combat deployment to a non-combat deployment, but the common factor is the absence of our loved one. My husband had two year-long, non-combat deployments before his deployment to Afghanistan.

Even if the ABC's of military life were more well-known, I don't think we, as milspouses, are an easy bunch to understand. Reminds me of that hysterical post, Are Milspouses Caged Animals? After reading all the comments in the vent post, I think an outsider might just be confused about us. I'm an insider and sometimes I'm confused... No matter how frustrated I may become, or how uncertain this life actually is, I really, truly wouldn't trade it for the world. Some of you may feel differently, and that's fine. We are not cookie cutters here, that's pretty obvious, and that's okay.

So, back to the disconnect between the rest of society and the military community. When I receive email like this....

Dear Andi,

We are looking for ways to help the morale of military wives and children here at home unfortunately we live far from military base. Further, all of us are civilians and not privy to the needs of military families so any suggestions as to ways we can help are most appreciated.  We have been sending packages to soldiers but do not have access to supporting those at home.

....I am heartened to know that there are people who want to help, but just don't know how.

How awesome is that? Strangers want to do something for us! Engaging these people, which is something I have yet to do, helps to involve them in our world and will, I hope, lead to a better understanding of our lives. I don't believe you can fully understand this life until you've lived it, but there are people who deserve kudos for putting forth the effort.

On the heels of the vents, why don't we talk about the things we embrace with respect to military life, and the things that we would like outsiders to know about us? What the hell - let's confuse them even more....

I'd also be interested in hearing what you think civilians can do to better support the homefront. The email I excerpted came from someone in the New York area. What suggestions do you have?

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