color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: December 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Bonds That Tie

Over at I have written a post about the meaningful bonds that are forged during military service... among soldiers... among wives... among parents...

Throughout the course of our lifetimes, we make and break bonds with people. Some bonds are formed in friendship: schoolmates, neighbors, fellow workers. I have close friends from each of those groups. I maintain, however, that the bonds forged in military service are perhaps the strongest of all bonds. Stronger than steel. Stronger than adversity. Stronger than time.

We all know the story of veterans sittin' around and one says, "No shit!! There I was..." followed by a story of improbability or hilarity, typically punctuated with profanity, irreverent phrases and sordid images. It will end with much backslapping and hearty handshakes. The circle might contain members of a single unit or a single war, or it might contain an assortment of veterans from many of this nation's conflicts. But they are bonded and tied to each other by the commonality of their service. Some are bonded by the mettle and the blood of battle. You need look no further than the Illiad or the St. Crispen's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V for evidence of the emotional connection these men share.


Some of my closest friends today are people I didn't know before my son deployed. We met via military blogs (including my own) and private online Internet forums established by parents of soldiers — one by a Third Infantry Division parent, another established by military moms for military moms. These were places to share information, to share worry, to celebrate good news and to commiserate when the news was bad. These were places that let us share this bond, hammered and shaped by our worry for our sons and daughters.

These relationships are equal parts ethereal and practical; as much emotional as they are physical. It involves both the spiritual and the material worlds — prayers and novena candles as well as care packages and cookie recipes. It is an inclusive sisterhood for which we did not volunteer, but in which we are now forever members.

You can read it all at PBS/POV: Conversations on Coming Home

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Milblogs Go Silent: A Protest

Army Master Sgt. C. J. Grisham has always led from the front, from combat that earned him the Bronze Star with V device, to doing right by the men he led. His honesty won him readership and respect, from the White House on down. Yet, when he stood up for his children in school, his command did not stand by him. You can read more at Military Times to get the full story.

Please donate via PayPal; log into PayPal on your own, go to the send money page, and put in his email: dj_chcknhawk AT yahoo DOT com; or, you can send donations directly to:

Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893
Please write "Grisham Legal Fund" in the memo line if you use this option.

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to you. Today, many milblogs are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Today, you have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Make your voice heard by writing your congressional representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.

The battle for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is fought on many fronts and in many ways. Without your help, the battle may well be lost.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Tradition of THE TREE

I am telling the story of the tradition of some Christmas Trees with a very powerful message... over at PBS/Point of View - Regarding War.

In December 1966, a helicopter sat on the deck of an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam with its crew of five on "stand by." These stand-by assignments were really "sit stills" — you had to be in the chopper and ready to fly a CAP (combat air patrol) at a moment's notice. Many times it was eight hours of sitting and waiting, and not flying.

The pilot of the helicopter was a 24-year old lieutenant fresh from the farm fields of Illinois via flight school in Pensacola. His crewmates, some younger, but none much older, sat and stared out at the pitch black trying to make out the shape of the Navy fueler that had pulled alongside earlier in the day, but which now melted into the blackness of the ocean at night. Occasionally, one of the crew would flip on a red-lensed flashlight to check the time. There was little radio traffic through the headsets and all conversations were conducted at a whisper given the EMCOM (emergency communications only) status — the wind rushing by the open side panel of the chopper the most persistent sound.

About midnight, a lone sailor approached and slid an armful of packages and letters across the floor. "Mail call," he whispered, turned and departed. Under the red glow of a flashlight, the parcels were divvied up to their recipients; the largest of the parcels was passed along to the pilot.

I hope you will
stop by and read (it is a true story!!)

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 07, 2009

PTSD: A Different Perspective, Part II (A Parent's View)

I have the second part of my perspective (a PARENT'S perspective) up over at PBS: Regarding War/Conversations:

My blog, Some Soldier's Mom, followed my son through his deployment, his wounding, his evacuation and our journey to Germany, his return home, the memorial services and funerals attended for many of his friends, his efforts to handle his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) himself and his subsequent acceptance of formal care for his invisible wounds. We — his parents, family and friends — were drawn into this nightmare by our love for our soldier; we have spent countless hours researching, learning, supporting and advocating.

Through all of this, we have tracked his progress — both the steps forward and the steps back. I have ranted, raved, blogged and asked the obvious questions about diagnosis, treatment and the stigma of PTSD. I have blogged many times about the changes in our son.

For those that truly have PTSD — that is, when the symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS) have become chronic — it is the bogeyman behind every door, hiding in every shadow; it is the invisible monster that has stolen the smiles and maybe even a part of these soldiers' souls. These young men and women fight every day trying to get that stolen piece back and to keep from losing more. It can be incredibly tough for those veterans and hard for their families.
The blog post contains some places to start if you are looking for information regarding PTSD in your loved one...

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

PTSD: A Different Perspective (Part I)

PTSD looks to be the diagnosis of the decade. Seems everyone has it, or wants to claim it. In the 80s the diagnosis was ADHD... In the 90s, was it narcissism? And now, PTSD: apparently you can get it soon after watching a movie, or years after some bad act. It's all the rage in the news, and a convenient excuse for bad behavior. Even if someone has never personally experienced the trauma, it seems like they only have to hear about someone else's trauma, and POOF — they have PTSD! Worse still are those who point to combat stress as proof that service members are the victims of some nefarious plot. If you believe the media and some politicians, every bad act by someone who happens to be a veteran is the result of some neglect or refusal to identify and treat this condition.

Read the rest of my PTSD: A Different Perspective (Part I) at PBS/Point of View/Conversations

Labels: ,