These days are the days that I wish this nation understood our military more than ever before. That I wish that people understood that it isn't always just what we hear on the news. I wish that people understood that not all of the soldiers who were/are serving in Iraq will be home for Christmas ... or New Year's ... or Valentine's Day ... or EASTER. That they will finish out their deployments - all twelve months - elsewhere in that region. I wish people understood that mothers had to tell their children that "Daddy won't be home" after they celebrated and cried and hugged with the initial news. I wish people could understand what that does to a military family - how much it crushes the spirit. I wish people knew enough to understand that you can't believe everything you hear. I wish that people understood that not hearing anger from the military sector doesn't means there isn't any.
We don't speak about such things.
I wish people understood what just took place in Washington. I wish people understood what the inaction before Thanksgiving did and does and will do to our men and women in uniform. I wish people understood that men and women who have given years for this nation - some over a decade - will be told that they aren't worth the expense any longer. That they will lose everything they have given - because leaders can't agree, because they set themselves up for failure, because this all seemed like a big charade.
That the blood they spilt, or the images they carry of their buddy's lifeless body, or the moments they missed with their children, or the marriages they couldn't repair, or last moments they missed with a family member who died while they were away serving their nation, or the period they missed of their spouse battling cancer, or the youth they lost fighting a war beyond their years, or the limbs they gave, or the mind they lost, or the integrity they carried themselves with, or the graduations they couldn't be there for, or the friends they saw blown to pieces before their eyes, or the widows of those friends that they couldn't give answers to, or couldn't tell them why, or couldn't look at them without seeing their comrade, or the children that no longer have a father or a mother ...
That these things are expendable. That they aren't worth fighting for. That they aren't worth defending. No one fights for those who fight for us. They don't seem to matter - not just not enough - but not at all. It's despicable.
That they are the first to deem unable to afford. An easy cut.
And what gets me, what really gets me, is that we are STILL AT WAR. I cannot tell you how many Vietnam Vets told us they pray that what happened to them at the end of their war would not happen to us at the end of ours. If I knew how many I have met I could tell you how many have said that - because they ALL have said that while shaking our hands and sharing their stories - what they could bear to share.
But this isn't happening after they have all come home. Our soldiers aren't being abandoned when there is no longer a war to fight. No ... no no no. They are still going into the fight, or are in the fight, or are training, or are still fighting the battle in their minds, or are looking at their pregnant wives and know that they will miss the birth of that child but then maybe won't have a job when they return that will provide for their new family. We are STILL FIGHTING.
I don't care what you hear, what the 'media' says, they are NOT COMING HOME ANYTIME SOON. I know my husband is going again. I KNOW that. But somehow, while gutting the army (and - ah-YES - we are gutting our army) our guys are going to get two years at home with only nine-months gone. I guess I am not as good at math as I thought ... because I don't see how that works.
And what is that that I keep hearing on the news? In political debates? Iran?? Pakistan?? Possibility of Using Military Force??
I am hurting for our military - for the men and women who form its ranks. They are not just numbers - not just expenses. These are the very best of our nation. The most selfless beings that such a land can possess. And they will say nothing. They will carry it all inside. While they prepare for another deployment, while the 'people' misunderstand, while they take it all in - day in and day out - all while wondering if they will still have a job, if they will be able to provide for their family, if they will survive each wave of cuts ... I'm sorry ... "phasing outs".
They shouldn't have to carry that.
And not, NOT, while we are still at war. Not while more will be asked of them. Not while they are still willing to lay down their lives for a nation that is willing to break their spirit. To break their brotherhoods and sisterhoods. That sees no danger in destroying their morale.
But there is no one person to blame. No one person made this happen. No one has blood on their hands.
Except our soldiers as they spill their own for a nation that just told them they are expendable.
But no one understands that. No one knows. No one gets it. Because we don't talk about such things.
Ignorance is bliss. I wish I could be of the majority right now - not knowing. Maybe I would sleep. Maybe I wouldn't carry this anger. Maybe I wouldn't cry just thinking about the men and women who will change NOTHING THAT THEY DO because they are better than all of us. They will still give their youth, their memories, their fingers and hands and feet and legs and ears and sight and skin until the day they are in that next wave that is told they are no longer needed.
And some will take that with a dignity that will break my heart. If C is one, after signing his name for the first time fourteen years ago, after living through his senior year of high school as a soldier, after leading men and bringing them home, if he is "no longer needed" ...
I don't even know what to say.
God be with us. God be with our military. God be with our nation.
(I feel it is important to say that none of this reflects the opinions of my husband, his unit, his leadership. This comes from the heart of a spouse hurting for the country that she loves. You won't hear these things from C. You will NEVER hear these things from C. He loves his country, he will always do as he is asked and he will do so honorably without saying a word. I do not have have that strength.)