When my husband, Jason, was deployed in Afghanistan during 2009-2010, for Memorial Day in 2010, I made the following post on my website (pre-implosion) that I thought I would re-share. Mostly it was inspired at a time when our soldiers were getting ready to come home, and many spouses and family members were becoming “difficult” as they were demanding unreasonable things of our FRG staff back home and of the command staff overseas.
It also made me think about Jason’s deployments from 2003 until 2010 and how each of them changed over the seven year period. When Jason was first deployed in 2003, we were lucky to hear from him once every 2-3 months by phone. During that time, we received letters by postal mail which was often slow. That’s right. No email. No Internet. By the time 2010 rolled around, Jason’s unit had access to satellite Internet, and he communicated with me via MSN or email several times a week. It often amazed me when wives would complain about not hearing from their husband via email every day, and all I could do was be thankful it wasn’t 2003 again. I suppose some folks lack a frame of reference or took too much for granted.
But I digress.
Without further ado, here is the original post:
While I sit here, I can’t help but reflect on this deployment and those that have come before. It would take a blind and deaf person to escape entirely the drama and pettiness that has been displayed while our men in uniform have been away. For all that I have seen and heard, it leaves me with an overwhelming pit of sadness in my heart. So I sit here today trying to find truthful eloquence in words, but I fear I have none other than practicality.
My greatest disappointment is that none of us will know the steadfastness of the wives, mothers and sisters before us who sent sons, brothers and fathers off to fight and die against enemies they knew would most likely claim their lives. War has changed, and so have we. The accessibility of war has placed it in our living rooms and on our computer. We expect the instant gratification of knowledge at the expense of patience and fortitude. We have become complacent and selfish when it comes to the needs of our soldiers. We expect the impossible and demand the consequences of war to bend to our day to day schedules. There are some of us whose good intentions have manifested in practice, but as a whole, we should be ashamed of what we have become. I have always been of the advice that our actions should be those that our soldiers would be proud of while they are gone or should they never return.
It is obvious our men fight a war that is different than those who have come before them. We have the fortunate truth that our men will make it home, safe and sound. Despite all this, I fear that most of us have forgotten the ultimate price given by those who have served and as well as the sacrifices given by their families. I fear that we have taken everything that is most important for granted. In 20 years it won’t matter if there was a homecoming ceremony when our boys get home or not, what another wife may or may not have said about you nor will the minor inconveniences you feel that you have suffered. The here and now is that our men put their lives on the line, ready at any time to be the hero they never asked to be and to pay the ultimate price should it be required. Our soldiers’ lives and their trust in us are a commodity that is not to be squandered.
For many of us, this will not be the first or last deployment we will see for our men. It is with hope, from today onward, that we treat each other with dignity and respect, accept those things we cannot change, and show temperance and patience where needed. If we do any justice to the men and women who gave their lives, let it be this.