Recently we ran an article that discussed the Obama administration’s decision to cut military benefits while expanding other welfare considerations. One of our wonderful readers sent in a note that should personalize the message just a bit more. It’s heartbreaking and it’s just one example of way we are not properly caring for our military families.
Your article on Obama’s war on the military reminded me of something I wrote a couple of years ago. I’d like to share it with you..
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the sacrifices that military families make. Since my son-in-law spent a year in Iraq as a cavalry scout in the army, I was privy to see exactly what that entails. There’s a saying that the only thing braver than a soldier, is a soldier’s wife. You could also add a soldier’s kid to that saying.
In the year that he was gone, I was usually the one that needed mental support. My daughter and my granddaughter took things in stride. I, on the other hand, worried every day and cried every time I saw an ad for the army on t.v. and, God help me, every time I heard of a soldier’s death. Knowing when he was going out on missions and knowing (sort of) of what that entailed, I was a basket case for most of his twelve month deployment. Anyone who has, or has had a close member of the family in combat on an almost daily basis knows the anguish it can cause.
I think I really learned about the sacrifices military families make last weekend. I flew into Denver airport last weekend, and my daughter and granddaughter drove the 1 ½ hour trip from Ft. Carson (Colorado Springs) to pick me up. I promised my granddaughter Ziggy to be there for her 9th birthday party. She was very excited about her birthday party with lots of friends being invited. Living on a military base she is used to making friends only to have them leave suddenly, but she is a very smart, social girl and makes friends easily. On the day of her party we excitedly picked up the cake from the grocery store, decorated the back yard, and set up the little swimming pool/slide. On the invitations she had told everyone to bring a swimsuit.
Two of her bff’s (that’s 9 yr old girl talk for best friends forever for you other dinosaurs like me out there) showed up 2 hours early of course. Ina, her real bff for the last year is from Germany and is a crack up with her blonde braids and incessant chatter with a definite German accent. Most of her English (and slang) she’s learned from my Ziggy since her family was stationed there last year. Her newest friend Emily also showed up. At 2 o’clock no one else had showed up. I asked my daughter what was going on. Did she give the invitations to the kids or their parents? Had she put the right time on the invitations? I was baffled why the house wasn’t full of excited 8-9 yr olds ready for a birthday party. My son-in-law spoke up. “I can tell you why they’re not here. It’s the 11th day of the month.” “What” I said, “does that have to do with anything?” “Pay day is on the 1st & the 15th. By the 10th everyone on this military base is broke. Nobody has any money to buy their kid’s friend a birthday present and they’re not going to let their kid come to a birthday party without a present.”
Wow… I was flabbergasted. That thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.
When it was time to open presents Emily proudly handed Ziggy a worn pillow case. “I have to take that back, but go ahead, pour it out!” Ziggy dumped it over and out spilled a pair of mismatched colorful socks & a half dozen stuffed little mermaid characters, obviously well used. “I made you a pair of riding gloves out of the socks. I know how much you like to ride your bike so I thought riding gloves would be a good present. And the dolls are my favorite things to play with.” Fearing Ziggy would be her usual direct and blunt self, my daughter & I held our breath for her reaction to the used and somewhat unclean presents. For a split second, a look of “really, are you kidding me?” “a pair of socks with holes in them and dirty, used toys???” came across her face, but as quickly as it came it was gone and she smiled broadly and said “ wow, that was really nice! Thank you so much! Let’s go play with em.” Wow again….I was never so proud of my granddaughter than at that moment. She realized the ingenuity and thoughtfulness that came out of having to do with what you have.
I realized then that the sacrifices that our troops make goes so much further than anyone can imagine. The kids they leave behind while they are fighting and dying in foreign lands have to make many sacrifices too. Through their sacrifices they learn many life lessons other children will never know. And while there is talk of military pay cuts that no one who is not in the military can begin to understand, I know that military kids are richer than most in what really counts.
Sent in by Judy from Kansas City, Missouri.
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