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- United States Politics
Coming home - active duty military returning from war.
"The eyes of the world
are upon you.
march with you."
General Dwight D. Eisenhower - order to his troops on D-Day 1944
A lot of research and facts on the life of our US Military families. Statistics pulled from the web include needs, issues, victories and defeats.
Right in the middle of all this - why we serve.
A spouse left behind to raise the children, a relocation at a crucial time in life, the unthinkable crush of divorce or separation, the distance physically and emotionally from extended family, the pain of distance and the overwhelming ache of saying good-bye so often.
I'll explore what the experts are saying and give you links to Blogs by military spouses ... the intent is to give you such a love for our active duty personnel that you reach out and do something special for one. One touching one could bring a wave of caring relief to these families who are often giving ALL.
I'll use US Army for an example.
I was an Army wife for 4 years during the Vietnam War.
The day my husband joined the Army we had been married about 7 months. We dated in High School and in College. When he was a Junior in College at Indiana University, he got his lottery number from the US Government. He was up for the Draft.
He considered waiting to be called up, or joining.Decided we would go to the recruiters office and hear them out, then decide. We walked out of that office with me asking my newlywed spouse,
"What just happened in there?" I was sitting right there, but couldn't comprehend what he was talked into, kinda like sitting in the office of a used car salesman and walking out with a car you cannot afford - same sinking feeling anyway.
Within a month he was on a bus headed out of state for basic training, and I was packing all of our beautiful wedding gifts into boxes, moving them to the attic of my in-laws. I was heart broken. We dated in High School, but after about one year of going steady my parents moved from Indiana to Virginia, I finished High School and went to college there. We got engaged when I was a Senior, then married after my Freshman year of college. Over 2 1/2 years of dating via phone calls, letters and occasional visits.
We had the sweetest apartment just about 8 miles from our jobs, shared a little sports car, I dropped him off at work, and I picked him up after classes in the evenings. He studied nights and weekends, and i took care of meals, the apartment and our adorable kitten. We bought our first piece of furniture on credit - a large stereo record player. We couldn't afford the payments on Army salary so we sold it on contract to his teenage sister.
My 3 months at his parents was strained because I didn't know them that well, and was so broken over him being gone. I was moody, mostly sad, and hated missing calls from him. His parents and I packed up into a car and drove to visit him once he had a weekend visitors pass, then I turned around and went back for his next pass on a Greyhound bus. I remember being on that bus with about 45 18 year olds who had been drafted, by then I was 20 and had been married for a year. They were kids to me. The boy in the seat next to me cried most of the trip - he'd been drafted, and then fell asleep on my shoulder, I was mortified.
On base I was so shocked at how much each of these guys looked alike. I was so frightened I wouldn't recognize my husband. Honestly to tell you the truth - basic training took my favorite best friend away from me. He was so different I could hardly cope. I had such a sincere warm relationship with him, he was caring, protective, connected and had so many plans for his future, before US Army. Now he was focused on war.
Active Duty Family Resource - Serving in the military.
YES this was US Army Issue
When I saw this at the Air and Space Museum I remembered.
Everything the Army ever gave me was O.D. Green
This is not my sewing kit. I wasn't smart enough to keep the original. But this is just like mine. I HATED IT.
I never sewed on so many patches in my life, they had to be removed and re-sewn if they weren't exact to the fraction of an inch where they belonged on the uniform. HATE is a strong word we don't let our Grandkids use, but I admit I hated sewing patches.
Chicken Soup Books are still poplular - Chicken Soup for the Soul - Veterans
I've been reading this book and it has some great stories. Wow, many cause you to celebrate others bring you to tears. Thank God people had the wisdom to collect these stories.
What an awesome gift.
Or if you're trying to get inside the head of a currently serving active duty relative or friend, what a great inspiration this book can be.
We serve for many reasons, once we make the choice to serve, staying through trials is the largest hurdle. Enjoy.
These articles will take you away from my blog. - If you want to view these please RSS or Bookmark this page first.
I'll try to add several resources for military families on this page. Be sure to bookmark this and check back often.
- Married to the Military
About.com has several articles on this topic.
- Military Couples
Married and in the military.
- Mental Health Issues
Awareness of Issues.
- Repeated Deployments Weigh Heavy on Active Duty
- American (Military) Widow Project
Such an awesome project - go here and donate.
- Camp Widow
This is self explanatory, please look into donating.
- Why I Serve.
The reasons behind one individuals decision to serve our country.
Military families have a tendency to return to memorials often.
Instead of taking pride in my husband's service to our country, I withdrew and grieved.
Speaking of O.D. Green, you'd think I got tired of it.
Yep, I feel like my first 4 years of marriage were painted O.D. Green
Green was my favorite color as a child. But within months of being an Army wife, I was sick of that color.
9 years ago 2003, my husband and I joined a group called Run For The Wall in an effort to minister to our peers who served in Vietnam. We are full-time Motorcycle Chaplains and travel the USA meeting riders in their environment.
After my first ride with them, I was so impressed with the group and the mission, I had my bike painted in O.D. green, probably one of the most healing things I've done since the 70's. I'm sure most people would not understand this, but now I have several items that remind me of that era.
Here's my theory. I hated it then because I was so caught up in all the negative , the "good-byes," raising my first son alone for 13 months, the way the Army changed my man, (and me), the disappointments, all the special occasions when we were separated from each other or immediate family ... I could go on and on, but the largest crushing blow was the way my peers treated me because I was married to a soldier.
That hurt ran so deep I've always been extremely cautious of making friends, and eased into the conversation that the hubby was a soldier during Vietnam. The shame was very real and demeaning. So much so, when we got out we made sure we looked nothing like the Army image of the day ... definitely went hippie all the way.
We stepped out of that lifestyle into a close walk with God, giving all our faith and trust to him in the late 70's. Trained for the ministry, pastored a few churches for nearly 20 years, then started the Motorcycle Ministry.
Shame was probably the largest controlling force in my healing. Ashamed to have been something I never intended to be as a result of grave disappointments and unfulfilled dreams of my youth.
BLOGS that relate: - Follow some fine military families.
I'll try to list Blogs here as I find them.
- Army Blogger Wife
Sweet family has been through a lot and the wife/mother has posted on her blog through it all.
Tracking the life.
- Boots in the doorway.
Another story of family and war.
- Pink in a world of camo
Making sweet memories.
- Crash Course Widow
A bitter-sweet journey.
- Mission Complete??
A family speaks out.
Everyone joined for a reason, volunteered their services, had a personal reason for joining.
"Why We Serve"
A web page by the Defense Department
Collecting stories and sending active duty personnel around the country to express their reasons for serving this great Nation.
WHY WE SERVE web page
An excerpt from the article:
There's been a lot of ups and downs, but I look around me and I see my family is well taken care of, way better than if I would have kept those two jobs. They're living a lot better than that," Garza, who now has a son as well, said.
"Not only have I grown through the Army values and I'm comfortable with the atmosphere, I actually look forward to going to work and being mentors to all the soldiers that are younger than me," he continued. "I have no regrets at all. I also know that this is just the beginning for me. There's a lot more I have to learn, and there's a lot more things to see out there and a lot more experiences to be involved with."
Garza's most recent deployment was to Camp Anaconda, in Balad, Iraq. His unit's mission was to escort and provide security for logistics convoys transporting supplies between military bases. He and his fellow soldiers would sometimes spend up to 24 hours on the road, he said, so they developed strong ties with each other and learned a lot about the country.
Garza recalled an incident when he was driving a truck containing 7,500 gallons of fuel, and a truck driven by an Iraqi came straight toward him without slowing or moving to the side of the road. Right away, Garza perceived this truck as a threat, and was forced to try to slow down his truck and swerve to the side of the road to avoid a collision, he said.
Despite his best efforts, he wasn't able to stop fast enough. He hit a car in front of him, and the truck clipped his fuel tank, causing fuel to spill into the street. Luckily, the convoy he was in had a wrecker truck to contain the fuel spill and a security team to secure the area, he said.
"After that, I realized that we had our stuff together,” Garza said. “We had people out there trained to the top of the line. We were pretty confident on the job that we were doing.”
WHY WE SERVE web page
click on above link for full story
The eyes of the world are upon you
hopes and prayers
of liberty-loving people ...
march with you.
What can civilians do to support military family members?
Many people have a heart for those who served their country, but not everyone knows how to reach outside of their own comfort zone, or how to reach into another family, without seeming intrusive.
Note whether you are currently active duty, then suggest ways to support military families.
I think that it's true the military spouses who live on base or who are able to go to the duty station with their spouse have a different support group than those who are maybe on base or back home or living in their own home waiting for the spouse to serve a term out of the country.
I also believe that everyone, no matter what their circumstances appreciates a surprise. A bouquet of flowers, a care package, a note, or call, an invitation to dinner, a babysitter, a housecleaning, etc. What ideas do you have for reaching out - reaching in to help our active duty military? A way to say thank you.