DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS A LIBERAL POLITICAL RANT. IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE PISSED OFF BY IT, OR FEEL THE NEED TO SPEW HATRED AT ME IN COMMENTS, STOP READING IT RIGHT NOW AND READ, INSTEAD, THIS ARTICLE ABOUT WHY THINGS ARE CUTE.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Today is Veteran’s Day, and today I’m thankful for my Loving Husband.
Loving Husband is currently serving in the Navy Reserves. He served on active duty for the first nine years of our marriage, during which time we were stationed all over the world. He flew helicopters in the Persian Gulf, talked to satellites in Ukraine, and did some things in undisclosed locations that he can’t tell me about because he’d have to kill me.
I love my husband. In addition to his humor and intelligence, I love his sense of duty, his patriotism, and his selflessness. He serves his country as he serves his family — diligently, lovingly, and tirelessly.
And I cannot wait for that service to end.
I’ve never loved being a Navy wife. I never really fit in with the other spouses, and my view of the military and government very rarely meshes with those of people who choose to serve. I hated not being able to pursue my own career, and I hated being parted from my husband for up to six months at a time.
But now it’s worse. Since he’s a reservist now, his deployments are different from what they were when he was active duty. They are longer, harder, and more frightening. I had thought that six months of worrying about my husband on a ship in the Persian Gulf was bad.
But at the end of December, he’s going to landlocked Afghanistan.
For a year.
That’s twice as long as he’s ever been gone before. And now we have a toddler.
And I’m not thankful for his sacrifice in missing a year of his son’s life. I’m not thankful for having to, once more, put my own needs on a back burner so that he can serve his country. I’m not thankful for a war which should have been over years ago, or for politicians who continue to send our soldiers into the line of fire when there is no clear and present danger. I’m ANGRY.
I am angry at those war hawks who send our men and women into harm’s way because they like to throw America’s weight around. Preventing other nations from thinking that America is weak is not a justification for war. It is a lazy excuse that masks a juvenile desire to exert power. It is a bully’s reasoning.
Theoretically, we humans are the most intelligent and evolved species this planet has ever seen. We have thousands of years of history in which philosophers and religious leaders have touted the cause of peace and dismissed the idea that war could in any way solve the problems faced by humanity. Millions of people even now hold fast to faiths with a central tenet of peace on earth.
And we’ve ignored it all. Human history is drenched in the blood of young men and women fighting for … what?
For every soldier who dies to protect his nation from death and enslavement, there have been any number of others who died over a boundary dispute. Or a resource. Or a religious disagreement. Or any other issue that could be resolved through diplomacy and mature discourse with a willingness to compromise.
I am grateful to those who died protecting our nation. I’m grateful to those who sacrificed to keep us safe, and who continue to sacrifice to keep us safe. I’m grateful for all those who have served our country, even when the cause was not just.
And though I thank all those soldiers for their sacrifice, no matter what the cause, it seems like a better way to thank them would be to stop such wars from happening.
I’m going to do that by voting. In every election. I’m going to vote for representatives who support our troops by not sending them into harm’s way unnecessarily. Who will use any diplomatic means necessary to resolve a dispute before talk of war even comes up. Who will fund the programs that make the lives of our service members and their families easier, from Head Start programs and food stamps to raising the minimum wage. Who understand what poor thanks it is to relegate our disabled veterans to homelessness, and to have the children of our soldiers forced to go to public schools that can’t afford textbooks, much less art or music classes.
And between now and that next election, I’m going to hold my serviceman very tight. I’m going to love him for all I’m worth, and when he leaves I’m going to cry into my pillow. But I will get through this, and when he comes home again I will be so, so thankful for him and for his safe return.
Some days, gratitude comes really hard.