We are used to being afraid.
Our loved ones engage in dangerous training, use weapons and go to war. The level of danger a deployment brings can vary from place to place and time to time; as a military family you don’t get much of a choice.
As military families, we tend to absorb much of the fearfulness of the national threats we face because our loved one is directly in harm’s way. We tend not to think about threats here at home because, let’s face it, that’s why we’re taking the fight overseas.
We -- Sarah and Stacie -- met because our husband’s passions, nay, their destinies, led them both to serve in the Air Force. We both come from different faith backgrounds – Christian and Jewish. We both serve our families, our communities, and the nation as women, mothers, military spouses and writers. And perhaps we are serving our destinies, too.
Maybe we were destined for such a time as this to cry out to the world, “ No more fear! No more hate!”
This is our message who would choose to add more fear to our lives.
We will not stand for more fear in our country.
We will not abide while politicians, basking in the media spotlight, tell us to be afraid at home.
We do not fear our neighbors. We do not fear strangers. We do not fear those who don’t share our beliefs.
Moreover, we certainly do not fear those from other walks of faith we don’t have a full understanding of.
Our military is Jewish, Christian, Muslim, agnostic and atheist (and more). They represent – and fight for – all Americans.
Refugees of war are real humans fleeing for their lives. Our nation is strengthened by immigrants, as most of we Americans have a heritage of immigration, whether from war or persecution or simply a better life.
We will not stand for xenophobia, hatred, bigotry or discrimination in our midst. There is no place for it in our military, and there is no place for it in our national dialogue.
We refuse to allow hateful, dangerous words to any way represent the ideals of our country.
We will teach our children to be kind and loving to our neighbors.
We will teach our children to use kind words and to expect others to do the same.
We will work to keep our people, our friends, our family and our neighbors safe. We will assemble with Muslim families in our neighborhoods, and Asian friends next door, and Iranian families at the playgrounds, and the Indian friends in our children’s classrooms; and we will fight together to keep America a worthy place to live.
We will gather to fight for love and peace and hope.
We all cry when innocent lives are lost, and we all shed tears when terror strikes again. We unite against the outliers who cause terror, and they are outliers. Those that wish us harm are not distinguishable by a faith, a race, a creed, skin color or ethnicity. They are bullies: minority radical factions. We only make them bigger than they are when we falsely associate their evil ways with a larger population.
We ask you: don’t give in to the negativity of prejudicial, fear-based, hateful communication.
We beg you: embrace the good fight together, as a country and a world set against those few who wish us harm.
We promise: to stand along with you, to help love win.
Sarah and Stacie met on Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, in 2010. Their husbands are active duty Air Force members. Parents to young children and active participants in their respective military and faith communities, they co-wrote this piece. In their professional lives, Stacie is a communication professor and Sarah is a nonprofit administrator.