Posts Tagged ‘Viet Nam’

My, Have Things Changed!


About 12:45 am, I got a text on my phone that woke me up!  Normally, I turn the sound off on my mobile phone overnight, but while Hubby is deployed, it stays on.  I NEVER want to miss a chance to hear his voice.  But now, over 10 years since his first deployment, technology has changed so much and I got a text from him.

Not only can he call me more often, but we also can Skype, e-mail, and text!!  This makes deployments much easier.  I remember during the first deployments when wives (and I say wives because they did more complaining then the husbands that I met) would complain about not getting a daily e-mail from their soldiers.  We were so lucky that our guys had internet access and that we could get the occasional phone call.  After a tearful phone call from a spouse, upset about not hearing from her husband after two days, I decided to change my approach.

Early in my husband’s first deployment, I had gone home to visit my parents.  While there, a very dear friend of my mom’s was over for lunch.  I only knew her as mom’s friend, and that her daughter’s went to my school (they were a few years behind me).  What I didn’t know was that her husband served in Viet Nam.  She had asked me about communications between me and Hubby.  I told her about getting frequent e-mails and occasional phone calls.  She then talked about how when her hubby was deployed it was months between letters and how you didn’t know if he was dead or alive because of lack of communication.  Her tone, body language and eyes changed in those moments that she recalled her experience as a military spouse.  She then went back to her regular self and said how glad she was that times had changed.  It was then I would no longer have a pity party over not hearing from Hubby, because it could be worse.

From then on, when any spouse would complain about not getting a call or e-mail that day, I would gently recall the story I had heard about Viet Nam.  For some it would give perspective, but for others it did nothing.

Now, I am so grateful for technology and being able to see Hubby often… and it makes my kids happy too!!

 

On this day in 1993… Vietnam Women’s Memorial


Today in 1993, the ground was broken to start the building of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.  It was a tribute that took way to long.  For so long, women in the military had been forgotten.  The memorial was official dedicated on November 11, 1993.  Please check out their site – Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation — and go and visit! 

I have respect for all of our military service members, but I think my respect and admiration is greater for the women who choose to serve.  Maybe even more for during draft-era military women — because they VOLUNTEERED!  I thank them all for doing something that I would not choose to do myself. 

Thank you ladies!  You are an inspiration to so many!  And I use you as role-models for my daughters!!

Why Don’t More Serve in the Armed Forces?


 

When people hear that my husband is a soldier I hear many comments.  Here are just a few of them —

 

·       Please thank him for us.

·       You must be so proud of your husband.

·       I could never be in the service.

·       There’s no way I would let my child go into the military.

 

Of all of them, the latter two really get me fired up!  My usually responses include things along the line of “not that brave are you” or “so your child is to good to fight for our freedom”.  It’s always bothersome.  And I always hear a long list of excuses.

 

·       I’m not that physically fit.

·       I’m not good at taking orders.

·       I don’t want to go to war.

·       I couldn’t fire a gun.

 

Rather lame excuses if you ask me!

 

Then I found a quote that really has been making me think lately.  It’s by Eleanor Roosevelt and she said, “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”  It made me wonder, why is it that so many will speak about our rights, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote, etc, but so few are willing to fight for it as a member of the Armed Forces. 

 

My father-in-law, a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant, thinks that military service should be mandatory.  He felt that 2-4 years for a young person coming out of high school would do them some good before going off to work or college.  We had a long conversation about it and my point was that I didn’t think I could do anything the military would need from me.  He responded that there was always something for everyone to do in the military.  He gave me a few examples pertaining to myself.  He said to me that I can cook, so I could work in the mess hall and that I had office skills and that I could work in any office with those skills.  We also discussed the physical part of being in the military.  To him, this was not a concern.  He felt that if you were not physically fit going into the military, you sure would be when you got out. 

 

For me, the jury is still out on mandatory service.  I think with volunteer service, you get people that want to serve, as opposed to people that have to serve.  What I would like to see is better compensation for military service.  There are too many service members that have to accept government assistance.  I have many friends that accept WIC because they need the extra money.  No person that is willing to put their life on the line should be below the poverty line.  With 2008 pay charts, a soldier with a spouse and 2 children is below the poverty line if they are an E-4 or below (this is just a quick assessment – but really close).  And while our pay is increased almost every year, it just never seems to catch up.

 

Also, while my next issue has improved greatly since Viet Nam, I want our military to always be respected and be an example of what is right in the world.  There are too many role models that are actors, singers, athletes and reality TV no-bodies that I would never want my children to emulate.  I wish that more people would look to our military men and women as role models.  My hope is that someday all people will understand and respect the military the way General Douglas MacArthur did in his speech “Duty, Honor, Country”. 

 

So perhaps the next time someone makes an off-color comment about my husband’s profession, maybe I will retort with Eleanor Roosevelt or General MacArthur instead of getting catty.  And hope, for now, that someday, everyone will want to be just like the members of our Armed Forces — brave, honorable, and willing to serve. 

The Luxury of Technology for Army Wives


Being a FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader during my husband’s first deployment, I was able to talk with the wives of the unit.  Some had great attitudes and others did not.  I had amazing women that dealt with the deployment gracefully and others that could find nothing but fault with everything!

We all handle deployments differently.  I tend to feel sorry for those women that find it so hard to make it through a deployment that all they can do is complain.  Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think that there is any spouse that never complains at some point during a deployment.  It’s the type of complaining that makes the difference.  Fielding questions like, “Why haven’t I gotten and e-mail from my husband today?” was almost laughable.   

I think back to all of the Army wives that came before us.  They did not have the technology that we have today.  Even just a short time ago during Desert Storm in 1990, we did not have access to the internet the way we do now.  That is why I am so thankful for the phone calls, e-mails and letters that I do get from my husband.

A dear friend of Mom’s told me about having her fiancee go off to war during Viet Nam.  She said that months would go by before she would be fortunate to get a letter from her soldier.  Each and ever letter was precious to her.  She did not get any e-mails, video conference calls, or phone calls.  Thankfully, he came home and they have been married for over 35 years.

I met two wonderful ladies at a luncheon.  Their husband’s were both retired soldiers who served in World War II and Korea.  Once again, letters were the only way to communicate.  One of the ladies told me about how before her husband left, they found out that she was expecting.  He didn’t get to meet his first child until she was over a year old.  That was also the time that she became pregnant with their next child and he was deployed again.  He missed that birth too.

So why am I so thankful for technology — I get at least one phone call a week from my husband, e-mails almost daily, and letters when he finds something cool he wants to send the kids.  So if you are an Army wife going through a deployment, be grateful for all the “luxury of technology” that we have.