- Almost 7 years later and and a 2nd deployment in between I post this because the Defense Dept. has cut deployment return time off funding to our troops….my troops…..your troops and I’m find myself having to be angry once again. like I was in 2005, like I was in 1998 when I began MY warfare against the Federal Government, Congress, and the Defense Dept. on behalf of our troops and their families. Do I have to light my torch again?
I was driving home from work on 35E when my husband called and said the official word had finally come in. Orders had been cut, his unit would be heading to train in WI and then off to Iraq. I had been prepared for this call for some time now but for some reason a sense of dread, panic and utter loneliness overcame me and I found myself pulled over on the side of the highway during rush hour trying to fathom what was to come.
Now began the long weeks of readiness, briefings, tears, and the unknown. On Dec 7 2003 our guys were activated, and a week later they convoyed out to WI for 1 to 3 months of training. The first week in Feb. my husband and the rest of the unit landed in Kuwait, the hours and minutes of unknown had begun. Sporadic updates, sporadic communications, and ever changing conditions for our soldiers began to wear on our families. CNN and MSNBC and others like them were evil allies in making life worse for our military families. Death, death and more death was all they would report and the fact that military families didn’t seem to have the same rights as civilians when it came to the death of a loved one just made us feel even more insignificant. By month three my TV remained off but my phone and my computer remained at the ready as did every other family member’s, waiting, waiting for a connection to the life they knew before.
For those of you with loved ones at home, maybe you can understand this analogy. Imagine if you can your child or loved one going out or leaving the house and then not calling when they don’t come home at the pre-determined time. Now it’s two hours past that time, now 6 hours. Imagine that feeling for 365 to 545 days in a row. The only problem with this scenario is that you can’t call them, or their friends or the workplace or hangout. You are stuck waiting and hoping that all is well. There is always the saying “No news is good news”, but it is very hard to get in that frame of mind when it comes to a loved one.
It is now Aug 2004 and I can’t tell you when it happened or why it happened but I am sure it was an accumulation of sleepless nights, raising a teen, a house that refused to stay intact for more than a month are among a few. But I think it was mainly that many were so uncaring and unaware that military families existed and the sacrifices they were making. I don’t remember the exact day it happened but I went from being a veteran FRG volunteer and military family voice and then the spark went out. Everything that I had loved about being part of the camaraderie, the loyalty and caring just wasn’t important anymore. It became more about self preservation than it did about the group as a whole.
My husband came home in Jan 2005, it is now Dec 2005, seven hundred thirty plus days and counting. We have been through return, we were going through reunion and then the military again seemed to think that reunion and readiness with family was not as important as getting troop equipment ready for a deployment. For three months (June-Sept) my husband and co-workers spent weeks away from home and came home weekends. Every project that had been put off for the last 2 years due to his deployment was now put off again and so was our family’s reunion progress. Not only was this an emotional and mental strain, but it was also a financial strain as well, we were now back to square one.