A while back I made the decision to moderate comments. I know that those of you who have been following for a while know that I have always allowed all comments to stay up - as long as they didn't degrade the American soldier or those they love. As long as they were not ill-willed they remained published. Even when they personally attacked my character and brought more into question than I could stomach, I kept them up.
I think all sides are important. I think all views carry weight. I knew that I was taking more on in my life and that I would not always be able to react quickly if someone posted something that didn't belong - that was hateful - and for that reason I added the moderation.
About a month back on the post "Missed Understanding" someone - and it was Anonymous - left a comment to the effect of: If I believed in following rules and loved the Army so much why didn't I man up and serve. (And that is all paraphrased. I can't remember the exact wording but that's the gist).
I almost published it just to see what would happen.
I went back and forth for several days about whether I would address it. Whether I cared. What it really made me feel.
I tried to think of who would have left it. A soldier? A spouse? A civilian? Who knows. It could have been anyone and hiding behind an "anonymous" always makes people feel powerful and brave.
I don't know how they found the post. I know it couldn't have been any of you. I actually laughed at one point reading it and debating.
The main issue is that I know there are service members and spouses who hold that view. That army wives like me hide behind their husbands. That we hold no value in the military community. That military spouses do nothing worthy of respect. That because our sacrifice is not the same it is not a sacrifice.
I get that people think that. I have heard a young soldier say it. I have heard a wife criticize me for being involved and active and engulfed. I have heard multiple spouses say it actually and I can see it in the faces of soldiers from time to time.
I hope that one day they have a change of heart. I hope that one day they see the value and importance of building a strong marriage, a strong foundation.
C's sacrifice is not the same as mine. What he gives and has given and will give are not the same as what I do and have and will. What he carries is beyond what I can know. What he has seen is beyond what I ever will.
There is never a question in that.
But those who stand beside their soldier - beside not "behind" - give. They give their joy and their sorrow, their strength and their pain. We give our patience and our understanding and our hope. We give our lives to men and women who give theirs. That is part of the sacrifice. That is of value. That is worthy. That matters. That serves the whole.
We sacrifice. We give. We love. We persevere. We hold on when the world reminds us again and again that we shouldn't make it. That we don't have to live this way. That our life isn't "normal".
I wear no uniform. I hold no rank. I put my hand over my heart when the flag is raised and lowered. I will never be asked to step foot onto a battlefield, or cling to a rifle, or carry a third of my weight on my back. I don't pretend to know what that can be like. I don't pretend to know what it is to see your friend dying beside you. I don't for a moment intend to equate my sacrifice and understanding with those who serve.
I will never say our sacrifice is the same.
But do not say that the arms that carry those who serve lack value. Do not say that what we give is not enough to hold a claim to loving and serving a nation.
We love a nation strong enough to endure the heart break of giving the one we love most to it. We believe in service and sacrifice so heart-fully that we will endure the heart-wrenching pain of holding a child back who is screaming and reaching out for his father. Do not belittle what that takes. Do not question what I give. Do not question what the thousands of family members around me give without ever wearing the uniform.
We matter. We know what it is to live for something greater. We give and give and give.
Ask any strong soldier who he fights for, who keeps him going, why he serves, why he stays focused, what carries him through.
Ask him if his family sacrifices for this nation.