A year ago I wrote about the solemn experience of war, in which those who return home are injured physically, mentally or in ways that are currently unclear. War is
a scary beast that is difficult to understand on even the easiest days; and
living through deployment and the reintegration each hold their own challenges.
September 11, 2001 is a day that forever changed our country, and will always
be remembered as such. We are facing a
major decision as a country right now, and whatever your party line and
personal opinion is ... there’s something that we need to clear up.
A few articles have come out recently that seem to say we—the soldiers, the spouses, the families, the organizations—are not ready for
another war. Yes, there are thousands of mental and emotional issues that are
still waiting to be resolved both in active duty soldiers and veterans. There
have been budget cuts that make many families question the benefits of military
life in the middle of the the sequestration budget battles. We question, because those battles directly affect cost of living for
housing, health insurance and the access to discounted products and services on
post. Yes, we have a lot of work to do in supporting our military and their
But to say that they aren’t ready—that the soldiers are
not prepared to go to war if they are called—isn’t accurate. Of all the
soldiers I know, most of whom are in the combat arms side of the military, there
are divisions on whether we "should" act. But there is no doubt—and there is
significant pride in this—that should they be called, they will prepare,
suit up and deploy to where they are needed. It’s not a matter of equipment or
if the PX is open five days a week. Like a friend recently told me, her husband
deployed with a shoe string for a shoulder strap on his weapon. They will go
and they will do whatever they need to do so that it can happen effectively.
The American public does not understand the experience of the military and their families.
Every day since September 11 our soldiers have been at the
ready for whatever
they are called to do. It is scary. There is no feeling like watching your
spouse or loved one depart on that bus, waiting for him to call or praying
that the earlier than normal knock at the door is a friend surprising you with
cookies and not a duo arriving to give you impossible news. They are ready, but
are the rest of us?
The Washington Post has published two articles this year about the war-weary American public. The public may be war weary
it states, but from what? The cost? The personal sacrifice? Less
than 1 percent of the American public has been on active duty at any
given time since September 2011. Of this small percentage, even fewer are
considered combat roles—purely combat related positions; not the doctors,
lawyers, mechanics, cooks and HR staff that play an important role in keeping the
organizations moving without carrying weapons into battle. Even though
the public concedes that the military has made significant sacrifices, over 80 percent of the military veterans serving post 9/11 say that the American public does
not understand the experience of the military and their families.
We are weary—we are exhausted from the residual effects of war—and the public is tired
of hearing about them. But we are ready. It isn’t just the soldiers being called here; the families, the spouses and the children and the missed
holidays, missed dinners and missed school plays are also going to feel this
pinch. Yes, we are tired and we are weary, but we are ready. We are ready to
support our troops, to kiss skinned knees and play super mom or super dad 24/7.
We are ready. Stop
telling people we aren’t.
We don’t know what military action will mean. Will bombs
lead to boots on the ground? Will deployments to Kuwait turn into an invasion
in Syria? Will Syria hand over the weapons and this chapter closes without much
pomp and circumstance? It is scary and it is hard, and it is going to be an
impossible decision to make. But we are ready and if we are called, we will
step up proudly to support our soldiers and our families.