Daughter and children have done an outstanding job of making the sacrifice without complaint, but I have seen the hard edges the toll has taken on them. The two younger children were 1 and 3 years old when he left for the first deployment to Iraq, and now they are 7 and 9 years old. For 40 months of their young formative years, he has been away and in danger, a danger which they are aware of and it has created for them an anxiety they can not well articulate except through fear and anxious-driven behaviors. I applaud their mother and her teen age daughter who have worked in harmony in managing the younger children through these anxious years.
My time of putting energy into activism towards ending the Iraq war and getting the troops home winds down with President Obama's declaration of ending Iraq war and drawing down troops - responsibly. Drawing down and withdrawing our military is a process that is done with an eye to reducing risks to remaining troops and takes time and I have no disagreement with that process. Recognizing that President Obama plans to put more troops into Afghanistan and that war front may escalate, I am disappointed with that plan. And after a 'dwell time' period at home with his wife and children, likely our son-in-law can figure he will have a deployment to Afghanistan - he has said as much.
But -- after six years of war in Iraq, eight years of war in Afghanistan, with the unmet needs of the service men and women coming home to their military families, and the unmet needs of military families who have sacrificed much for too long ...I want my energies to be directed in venues that will help put in place some of the much-needed resources for this generation of veterans and their families. I'm thinking that I want to shift the direction of this blog towards being a part of the bridge building that facilitates calling attention to needed resources, but I am also thinking that the name of the blog is perhaps too provocative - as I meant it to be when I created this blog. Perhaps it is time to retire this blog and begin anew with another blog.
I would like to give a shout out for a military family group that has already made contributions in representing some of the concerns expressed by this generation of military families. Many members are currently military spouses, and I think that gives their thoughts weight as among the representative voices of this generation's military families. See Blue Star Families.... their mission statement;
"Blue Star Families is a bridge between military families, the shapers of policy affecting military life, and our nation at large. Through outreach to our government leaders and local civilian communities, we strive to share the unique experiences of our military lifestyle and the pride we feel in our families’ service. By engaging our members and their families, we seek to gather our perspectives and opinions on all aspects of military life. We use this knowledge base as a voice of military families to inform the policy shapers and to support families, like ours, that have the honor of serving our country."
And see their blog Blue Star Voices.