I am going to walk a very fine line here. I have said - repeatedly - that I have no intention of talking politics with this blog. None. For that reason, I have tried to avoid my computer. I have tried very hard to ignore this. But I have read so much that I can't see straight and C and I have been having serious discussions that I never thought we would have two months shy of his fourteen year mark.
This war is very much the war of my generation. It spans a few generations really because it has lasted so long but this war has gone on for my entire adult life - and some before that. When this war began I was getting my driver's license. (Yes, I just gave away my age). Amazingly my generation is either unfazed by this war or is in the thick of it. We are either untouched or consumed - either because we have spent the last ten years deploying in the worst of conditions or loving someone who has.
I would never for a moment argue that my generation is the "greatest generation". I have met men and women of that generation. They truly, truly are the greatest of all generations. But the generations of this war have endured a decade of fighting. A decade - with no real defined end in sight. They have endured marriages crumbling from the weight, missing births, missing their children's childhoods, missing funerals, losing friends in traumatic circumstances. And not just once, but over and over again.
That means somethings. That is worth something. Whether you agree with the war or not - they have endured the battle because they were asked to. They said " I will" when ninety-nine percent said "I won't."
My husband joined when he was seventeen years old. He went to basic the summer between his junior and senior years of high school. He will be in for fourteen years in November. Fourteen years. Nearly half of his life.
We always thought that he would be in it for the long haul. We are committed to this life. We believe in service. We have always believed that the sacrifice is worth it.
We never thought we would question it.
In the very near future, depending on what happens in Washington, the military will be facing a drastic change in their retirement benefits. No, not drastic. Catastrophic. And no matter what side you are on, it isn't right.
One percent of this nation serves in the military. One freakin' percent. (Forgive me). And of that one percent, roughly seventeen percent of them make it to full retirement. That is miniscule. There is a reason that so few make it to the end. Because it is hard, because it wears on a family, because there is only so much that a person can take. And to take that motivation from them that they deserve is disgusting.
I know that the money has to come from "somewhere". That "someone" has to sacrifice. That "someone" needs to "take a hit" but not these men and women. No. Not them. They have sacrificed. They do take the hits. They freaking take rounds! They have endured the hardest of circumstances.
They deserve to be compensated the best that they can be. No nation can adequately compensate those who serve it. It just isn't possible. They don't do it for money. Maybe that is why it is so easy to take advantage of them - because they are honorable men and women who serve - and rarely speak out.
I am not going to go into how much is being proposed to take from each individual soldier's retirement. I don't think I could do that without setting the computer on fire. But it is significant enough to have us - and others - debating if staying in and serving is worth it. And it isn't just about the money - it is about the insult. It's a spit in the eye. It's a direct hit to the knees. To take men and women who haven't just served for such a long time - but have been in combat for a good majority of it - and to tell them that they are an expendable entitlement.
I can't stomach it.
So we are walking a fine line, weighing unimaginable options, thinking about things that we never thought we would think about. None of this is something men and women currently deployed need to think about. None of them need to feel less valued.
To take more from those who give all is wrong. No matter how you slice it.
Yes, people need to give. Yes, people need to sacrifice. Yes, there needs to be change. But these men and women do and have and will and to take what they deserve because it is an easy cut ...
It can't be more wrong.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.