This Memorial Day finds me conflicted. I find the very way we say “Happy Memorial Day” to be conflicting. On one hand, I want to hold on to the ideals of the American Dream and say that what my family and all of the military families are currently sacrificing is “worth it” yet, I somehow am left sitting here unsure if it is worth it right now. This country is at an unrest like I have not witnessed before and I hear is reminiscent of Vietnam days. It is not the country I grew up in. It is not the military I grew up with. Those sacrificing the most are not treated with the respect they deserve from some civilians, but mainly from the government for whom they defend with their lives. Promises made are not kept. The benefits which they lay their lives on the line for and sacrifice their families for are taken from them or threatened to be taken first in legislature. Veterans receive the worst medical care in the country and no one changes it. Service members sit doing nothing in a war zone, while a civilian contractor does their job, yet they are not allowed emergency leave when their family member is lying in a hospital bed, in the United States, dying. Or it is the other extreme and the service member is working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for 12 months, with 4 hours sleep. Watching as one more of their battle buddies leaves this earth. Days and nights no longer exist. Just unmeasured time until they are thrown back into a plane to go home and live “normally” again. Only to return to another deployment months later. My own family is currently going through sacrifices brought upon the military that would have never been presented in the military I have known before. I won’t go into great detail but while military families expect sacrifice and difficulties with this lifestyle there is a level of acceptable and unacceptable. I feel the military refuses to address crucial issues that now affect our children, our health, and the very well being of our family and forces our family to separate. How are military families supposed to survive with little pay, no benefits (or benefits that can be taken away at a moments notice), children who no longer thrive even on posts, substantial healthcare, politicians who care not for those who serve them and this country they believe in but only the money and the politics that serve their own needs, deployments that continue over and over again until there is no family structure left and only mental illness left in its place, and no support from the American people at large? All the while, watching their neighbors coming home in a box or coming home with no legs. Or watching their neighbors divorce because they can no longer struggle through the madness that comes along with continuous deployments and stresses of the military and not enough support for the service member or their family? Or how they watch their neighbor attempt suicide? Or how they watch their own children’s futures being threatened because of where their family has been stationed? While I appreciate the handshakes from the American people, I believe military families need more at this point. How many lives have been sacrificed over wars that the American people do not even support or care to even remain in? How many lives have been given freely by these amazing heroes only for their families to be treated as if their loved one’s lives have meant nothing? What has happened to this country? Where has the leadership gone? But more importantly, where has the glue, that the citizens present, as being united as one, gone? My husband planned on making the military his life, his career. He immigrated here believing in the American Dream more than most American born citizens. How sad that joining the ranks has taken that dream away from him? Yet, as I write these words, my husband and I have hope and we have respect left for this beautiful country. This country still holds so many amazing strengths. It has so many amazing possibilities. This country has these things because of it’s people. It’s strengths, possibilities, hopes, dreams, and future lies in you. The future of the military family lies in your hands even more than the politicians because you have the power to make things change. You have the power to speak up and to unite. You have the power to truly support your men and women who unite and give their all for you. The ideals of the American Dream are still there. It is up to each one of us whether or not we take them for granted or whether we take hold of them and make this country great. On this Memorial Day, I plead with you to dig deep within yourself and find the ways in which you can unite with the people you are standing next to, your neighbors, your family and how you can speak up for our military families. How you can contact your government and make changes that are needed for the heart of this country to return and to honor those who have given their all for us to have the freedom to speak up. How you can make this country great again because it is just waiting for us. And our military families need you.
This Memorial Day I dedicate all of my love to my husband, my best friend, the father of my children, my hero, my soldier, and my soul. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me, for our family, and for the American people with not one complaint or ever asking for anything back in return. Thank you for your honorable service to your country and your honorable care of your family which is an impossible balancing act that you manage to do like only a hero could do. I love you my soul. Forever. Thank you.