In fact, this time last year I would have been on the "popular opinion" side of things. Not so much today. Maybe because my family (personally) as a military family is in a different place than it was a year ago. We as a military community are in a different place than we were a year ago. Our force is changing. Our Army, our Navy, our Marines, and our Air Force must maintain their readiness without near the same funding. The challenge to work through is immense. It isn't fair. It isn't right but it is reality.
Soldiers are going to be involuntarily separated from the Army. Soldiers and their loved ones who have served faithfully and well are being told this nation is no longer able to afford them.
We. Are. Still. At. War.
The Middle East is still the Middle East. China thinks it's a game to claim airspace that isn't theirs. We need our troops. We need them trained. We need them ready. We need the world to have no reason to question our strength. If there is only so much money, it needs to go to them.
If closing our commissaries allows $1.4 billion less to be taken directly from our readiness, our national security, our ability to protect our nation and our allies ... close them. Put in exceptions for OCONUS and for isolated posts/bases, and close the rest. I can shop off-post. I can shop at Walmart, or coupon, and cook smarter. I don't think it is a sacrifice. I don't think this nation is asking me to suffer some grave injustice. At the very most, it is asking me to be inconvenienced.
I can be inconvenienced if the soldiers I know to serve honorably, for the right reasons, with selfless hearts are better protected, better trained, and more likely to come home alive because of it.
I listened to the news today when the anchor said that military families will be "up in arms" to their congressmen and senators over the Pentagon's proposal. I have no doubt that some will.
Our military is changing. Some of it I understand, some of it makes me angry, some of it makes me incredibly sad. I will never, never say that we are lavishly bathed in benefits that give us luxurious lives as some press choose to explain it. I think we sacrifice more than most. I think we feel a pain and a longing that most people cannot understand. I think we live a life that demands strength and resilience and gratitude. But I also think that the majority of us have hearts that bleed for not only this nation, but for the defenders of it. Most of us would give the shirt off our back and the food from our cupboards if it somehow made one soldier safer.
This isn't the future ahead of us. This isn't something that may be asked of us someday soon. This is happening now. Our military is changing - actively changing. We have to decide what we can do without so that those who will give up to their lives do not have to.