color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: All Due Respect to Military Spouses...

Friday, August 10, 2007

All Due Respect to Military Spouses...

after all, I count a few as good friends of mine... but this kind of got my hackles up:

Bill Would Memorialize Military Spouses

When it comes to honoring the sacrifices and contributions that military spouses have made to national defense and our country, Rep. Thelma Drake (R-VA) intends to make sure there is no generation gap and that no spouse is left behind.

Last month, Rep. Drake introduced H.R. 3026, the Military Spouses Memorial Act of 2007, which would "establish in our nation's Capitol a memorial commemorating the selfless sacrifice of military spouses from 1776 to the present day." The monument will be intended to recognize the strength and courage of all military spouses, including survivors, and tell their story to all generations.
I have said it for all the years my sons have been in the military and have heard the same complaint from virtually every military mom I have ever spoken with: military moms (actually, military parents) are an afterthought to the various service branches. Even the website for Noah's unit when it deployed in 2005 said... "and parents might find this site useful, too." As if when our children joined the military or married we somehow lose interest in their lives and their well-being.


And while I really do admire how hard military spouses have to work at all they do -- especially during deployments -- I think we should save our war memorials for those who fight in those wars... and if the members of Congress really want to pay homage to military spouses, then use the tax dollars they propose to spend on a "memorial" to instead pay the military husbands/wives a better salary, make sure they all have access to the best health care, give them modern and convenient housing, schools for their children that are second to none and make sure those who fight have the best weapons and protection money can buy... and be sure the wounded are ably cared for and compensated... THAT'S how you honor military spouses.

But build a statue in the nation's Capitol?? I will support the Spouses Memorial endeavour after they build a monument to Military Moms... and then the one for Military Dads. After all, not every Soldier, Marine, Airman, Sailor and Coastguardsman has/had a spouse, but every single one of them has (or had) a Mom. Come to think of it, so did those military spouses... where do you think they learned to support their military spouse?

harumpf.

Update: Andi supports the idea because she believes the memorial is to be funded by private donations, but also raises a point about a memorial to the military family. The DH and I had the same thought on a Memorial to military Families encompassing parents, spouses and the children of those who defend us -- as a reminder to the world of the sacrifices military families make. Now that memorial I'll support 100% !!

18 Comments:

At 8/10/2007 6:27 PM , Blogger Shelly said...

I found your site and I was thinking about the same sentiment. Most of our servicemen and women aren't married and we parents are their lifeline. Thanks for posting what most of us parents think..

Shelly

 
At 8/10/2007 7:10 PM , Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

People don't like to think about the parents.

Every parent expects their children to outlive them and spouses know they have a 50/50 chance of outliving their spouse.

Outliving ones child is the single most emotionally devasting event that can occur in anyones lifetime.

I got one phone call from the 'family support group' in a year...and they made it from an Official DOD phone(caller ID said "Dept of Defense". I never had a case of the shakes like I had when I picked up that phone.

I can't imagine what it would have been like if it was bad news.

 
At 8/10/2007 9:45 PM , Blogger kbug said...

I have great admiration for spouses who carry on while their soldiers are deployed, my mother did that for 2 1/2 years straight during WWII. But you hit the nail on the head when you said we parents are the forgotten ones. There are no parent support groups that I know of...mine was right here in the blogosphere and a good friend...and forget about ever getting a call from the FRG.

 
At 8/10/2007 11:09 PM , Blogger Army Wife said...

you are spot on SSM, I do not feel a memorial is needed.

that money could be used indeed!

 
At 8/11/2007 2:13 AM , Blogger Homefront Six said...

Amen.

 
At 8/11/2007 6:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like Ms. Drake may be trying to make a name for herself in some way. Put the money where it matters. No disrespect for spouses, but our wounded vets need help. Hire the staff to take care of their needs first, and also increased pay for troops. What will it take for our government to increase funding to care for those who have served and been physically and mentally damaged in the process.
Thanks for posting that news.
Cathy B

 
At 8/11/2007 7:11 AM , Anonymous Andi said...

I think I have a bit of a contrarian view. It's my understanding that the monument will be funded by private donations, so in that case, I support the monument. I would be opposed if it were government funded because I do agree with you that money could be better spent elsewhere.

But, when we look at the contributions of military spouses throughout history, not just post-9/11, they are really quite extraordinary and I see nothing wrong with a tribute in the form of a monument because that's how we honor people in our society, through monuments.

I do, however, agree that military parents are sometimes overlooked and they're contributions are great as well, as you have proven time and time again. Perhaps a military family monument would have been a better idea. One side showing parents and the other side showing spouses.

Two Gold Star spouses came up with the idea for the monument and you can read more about it here:

http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=6743375

I'm not actively pushing for a monument to military spouses, but I'm not opposed to the idea either, providing that it will indeed be funded by private donations.

 
At 8/11/2007 8:12 AM , Anonymous jordan said...

SSM, I have to agree with your sentiment on this. For the past several months we have been cajoling, distracting and supporting my sister, who is both the spouse and the mother of two deployed soldiers.

Of course, both are loved. But she is suffering, worried and anxious more as a mother than as a spouse. I wonder how others in similar situations feel.

There is an intensity of a primal nature when you're the Mom. It's just different. (Not trying to shortchange the spouses, though.)

 
At 8/11/2007 10:02 AM , Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

Andi -- DH and I had the same thought on a Memorial to military Families encompassing parents, spouses and the children of those who fight as a reminder to all of the sacrifices military families make. Now that I'll support 100% !!

 
At 8/11/2007 10:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Military parents are the great untapped resource.
Every project I have ever undertaken couldn't have been achieved without their support. They are often times the very first to volunteer for projects and the most dedicated.

The Marine Corps is moving in the right direction. Slowly. There are units who establish a parents Key volunteer network. Reserve units are allowing parents to become key volunteers who work with both spouses and other parents. I will be one for my son's unit next Spring.

I honestly don't have an opinion on the memorial issue though...I am a Marine spouse and a Marine parent.
I read the article about it and just shrugged....
Carrie Costantini

 
At 8/11/2007 1:50 PM , Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

Sorry... have attracted a very vulgar troll... comment moderation is on and no anonymous comments for the foreseeable future... one of those truly nut cases from the very far left... whoooboy... he or she needs a whole lot more tinfoil and needs some SERIOUS help with anger management. bugger off, you twit.

 
At 8/11/2007 2:17 PM , Blogger Stacy said...

The parents are for sure FORGOTTEN. We are the ones that raised these soldiers, and we are the ones that will love them unconditionally, no matter if they divorce or what they do, we as parents will always be there for our children. We will always be just the parents.

I agree with you 100% SSM. It's a soar subject for me and looks like for several other parents as well.

 
At 8/11/2007 3:49 PM , Blogger Susan said...

I agree with you! I think the money would be better spent to help our soldiers and their families bemore secure financially during deployments. Our sons and daughters lay their lives on the line. We parents worry more than we let on sometimes.

 
At 8/14/2007 12:24 PM , Blogger Claire said...

Amen to the Memorial to Families! Yes, military spousing is hard. There are sacrifices that parents of a soldier do not face, but the same is true in the other direction. Seeing your son go off to war is no picnic, and if he is unmarried his parents are his primary family! They will be the ones providing the crux of morale support, and helping him with integration issues when he returns. Military parents are important.

The sad part is, I was left completely out of my son's FRG. I only am just now figuring it all out. Now that I am a Spouse too I have access to a lot more support and information. It is sent to me. When my son left for Iraq I didn't get any information at all outside of what he told me. No extra information on FRGs, contact information, etc. Nothing.

 
At 9/07/2007 5:49 AM , Anonymous Kathleen said...

SSM & others--you are so right. A privately funded memorial for families would be ok, but I'd still rather see the money go to actually support the families. I agree that parents are forgotten. I"m fortunate in that our 3 soldiers are back safe, but we live in the Northeast and had no info or support when we were the custodians of our grandkids while both parents were deployed. Fortunately, my other military son's spouse was able to talk me through Tri-Care as she was coping with it from Ft. Polk. Try finding a doc in the Northeast that's even heard of Tri-care...never mind one who is willing to accept it.

 
At 1/19/2009 3:19 PM , Blogger Female Active Duty Army Spouse/Veteran said...

I am a female soldier still on Active duty in the Army. I have deployed once before as a single soldier and met my husband in my unit. We got married and are now having a baby. I will be getting out of the military and taking on the role as the "deployed military spouse". I only found this blog site because this will be my first time as a home-front military spouse while my husband is deployed. Although I support the parent's and their arguments for a FAMILY memorial, rather than a Spouse Memorial, I disagree with the fact that "The parents are the forgotten ones...". The Army has a great program called The Family Readiness Group, that my family and I have had experience with first-hand. Before deployment, your soldier/daughter or son has a choice as to who will be informed about important matters about their unit. My mom got calls about important accomplishments of the unit, important dates the unit would be coming home and getting leave, etc. Although the spouse is usually the default contact, others can be added. My mom was never "forgotten". On one hand, the parent's raised and cared for their child(ren) and will definitely be morbid about losing them, but a loving spouse will be no less upset than a parent. Afterall, the parent's do "give away" their precious children in the Ceremony of Matrimony with their Spouse. My mom is my best friend. But in saying that, I will back up every parent on the fact that, your children are who they are today because of you. But you are more often than not, the reason they joined the military in the first place, and you are rarely the person sacrificing every moment of your day to raise and take care of the deployed soldier's children and home while maintaining a healthy marriage during the long and lonely deployment. I apologize for my blatant disregard for most parent's feelings in this blog, but in my experience as a soldier and friend to many other soldier's, and my mom as my biggest supporter, the one person or the very few people that bring true love, support, and the feeling of hope to a deployed soldier's heart is either the person right next to them or their spouse on the other end of the phone. I cannot argue, however, that a letter from home (mom, dad, little sister or brother) is always wanted and most of the time needed on deployment. Back on topic, I agree with the Family Memorial. But parent's, please don’t misunderstand the difference between what you have done/do for us and what our own Spouse and Children have done/do for us. And last but not least, I don’t know what your soldier's have been telling you about our equipment or medical care, but billions of dollars have been put aside for all of the soldier's state-of-the-art personal body armor and the entire fighting force's brand new armored vehicles. As a soldier I have never been pampered in a military medical facility, but I have never had a complaint either. Anyone covered by tri-care should have an official DOD military or dependent ID card to get on to any military base to access a tri-care facility. If you have civilian tri-care, you should have been provided a pamphlet with all of the facilities that will accept tri-care.

 
At 1/27/2009 5:07 PM , Blogger Joanie said...

I agree, I am a mom of a deployed Army soldier, he has been over in Iraqi since 9/08 and I am having a hard time dealing with the whole situation, I thought it would get a little easier after a while but so far it has been getting worse. I have been searching the web for some kind of parent support group for days and haven't been able to find one, which is starting to upset me but I am determined to find one and believe me I will. I would like to say "Thank You to all the military parents out there, you will be in my thoughts everyday until they all come home.

Joan (mom to a 19yr old Army soldier)

 
At 9/12/2009 8:09 PM , Blogger Vanessa said...

I agree with the female soldier. I lay in bed with my infant son by my side. His daddy left less then a month after he was born. While I am sure his mother, father, sister, aunt and grandparents miss him, they are not feeling his absence the way I do. I love my son dearly, but I would much rather be sharing my bed with my husband. An infant is a handful for a couple, but I am the one playing both mother and father right now, not his parents or other family members. And, though each unit is their own when it comes to the Family Readiness Group (FRG), most do reach out to the parents of particularly the single soldier. 9 times out of 10 if the parents are not getting updates, it is the fault of the soldier, not the unit. As a volunteer for the FRG I often have wrong numbers or no contact info listed at all because the soldier never gave it to us or didn't keep us updated of any changes. My husband CHOOSE to have only myself as his wife be the only contact. As parents, it is not that you are not making a sacrifice, but your sacrifice pales to the daily sacrifices made by the spouses of the deployed soldier. It is the spouse that must take up the role of the father/mother who has deployed. It is the spouse that carries the responsibilities of the home and children when the soldier is gone. But more then anything else, the one thing a parent of a soldier will never sacrifice, it is the spouse that ends each day in a cold and empty bed while the soldier is abroad kept awake into the wee hours of the morning with the fear that it may not be filled again. In my opinion, it should be a spouses memorial.

 

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