A retired military spouse just lit a firestorm in the Fayetteville Observer. Once again, we are being told we are whining. She starts by telling her readers that “just” because soldiers are in Afghanistan, it isn’t “sacrificing” , that to call it that is “over the top”. That was just the beginning. Yes, Mrs. Sisk, our soldiers DO worry about what is happening to their families in the States, I’ll bet they did during Vietnam too. But back then, back in the day, it wasn’t something that anyone talked about, now was it? When they came home, they didn’t talk about their problems, did they? Now we know that getting help with problems, talking about the nightmares and the night sweats and the inability to handle loud noises, actually helps – we learned that from the horrendous mistakes made with returning Vietnam war vets.
The writer talks about all the wonderful things she did in Germany, as a “Cold War Army Wife”.. I’m one of those as well, I remember the sightseeing, the markets, and all of it. (as an aside, her neighbours did know she was an Ami, believe me – I learned German from my mother and hearing an American who learns it later trying to speak, it’s the accent.. it’s obvious) . In those years, we didn’t get paid a lot, but we did enjoy being in Europe.
Her husband deployed for 365 to Vietnam and whether or not she considered it a sacrifice, it was. I’m very happy she found a job – do you know how hard it is for military spouses near a base to find a job now? Has she LOOKED at the jobless figures?
I’m happy her children adjusted to change so well, PCSing is tough – yes, I’ve been there, did that. The multiple deployments that current military children are facing, over and over and over again, are a whole different problem. To ask our children to keep doing this, to keep saying goodbye and living with that tension, watching their classmates going through it too, is something I don’t think the author thought of. Let’s add to all that, the constant availability of news, the pictures flashed on TV news, the internet flooding of information any child can see – the continual pounding on that little brain of images and facts and figures – and Bobby has to imagine his daddy, or Jenny imagines her mommy in the middle of that. This does impact children – just ask the teachers dealing with the changes in the child, or the grandparents trying to understand what’s wrong. Perhaps, instead of talking to her husband, she should talk to her children, the ones who went through his deployment to Vietnam.
Yes, ma’am, it’s a job. It’s a job that only a few can do, only a few are willing to do. We are called the One Percent, because only ONE PERCENT of the citizens of this country are touched by these wars. Back in the day, ma’am, about 20% of the country knew someone or had a relative in the service.
Yes, our lives can be exciting and joyful, between deployments, training, TDYs, schools. Whining? No ma’am we aren’t whining. We are strong resilient men and women, and if our country wants to do a toy drive or help a military family, to thank us for our spouse’s service, I think we’ll accept it as the indication of a country’s gratitude. I’m sorry they didn’t do that for you during your husband’s service in Vietnam – that’s no reason to call us complainers, less rugged or whiners. Maybe you could take a moment and actually talk to one of us.