From the Home Front Posted by: mcq
on Saturday, May 05, 2007
It is hard enough on the battle front, but equally as difficult is the home front.
The Moderateor is Andi of Andi's World. Andi is a phenomenal lady, married to an active duty soldier and has put the Milblog convention as well as another convention next week on the west coast known as SpouseBuzz which is a family support convention.
Carla tells the story of her son's wounding. She talks about how proud her son is about what he's done. He suffers from PTSD, but is something he's working through. A number of members in his unit were killed after he was wounded and evacuated, and is suffering from "survivor's guilt" which is not at all uncommon, but also something very difficult to work through.
Rachelle - extended tours (15 months). Taken it in stride, but wasn't at all happy with the way it was announced. The announcement was made without letting soldiers tell their families. Husbands and wives want to tell their families in the time and manner in which they want to. And announcements that short-circuit that are harmful. As Rachelle said, it is a matter of respect.
Becky - (mother of 3 sons, all of which are serving in the military). Appeared on Larry King and after her appearance, her blog had many awful and hateful emails which she publicized (she said the side benefit was she got a lot less hate mail). The most hateful said that the world would have better had she been born barren.
Sarah - has her own "hate site" where she's been called the war's number one cheerleader. She said that she's married to a man she loves and supports and he supports the war, so if that's what her detractors wish to call her, she embraces the label.
Rachelle - one of the areas she concentrates on are the National Guard spouses (she's one) as they're isolated from the military communities that are prevalent around military bases.
Carla and Becky serve as mentors for parents of deployed soldiers. The most gratifying part of blogging about being the parent of deployed soldier is the "support group" connection that has come from that. Their favorite comment is when parents say, in relief, "we're not alone".
Robert Stokley, a gold star father, is talking about the loss of his son. Today, is his son's 2nd wedding anniversary. His son, SGT Mike Stokley married 3 days before his deployment and was KIA in Iraq 3 months later.
He talks about setting a clock to Iraq time to know what time of the day it was there. He worried - was he getting enough to eat, etc. He didn't know of the milblogging community and he says milbloggers "gave me my life back".
It helped him handle one of the most difficult times in his life and to give him the support he so badly needed at the time. Stokley gives a very emotional but outstanding tribute to his son and ends:
"Was Iraq worth it? Ask the little boy who became a man and gave his life for it. He thought it was."
Rachelle - One of the great things that has come out of the blogging is it has given power to advocacy, with the VA for instance. Hard to ignore people who can self-publish and raise visibility within the local community and nationally.
Panel talking about how impressive and strong the young military wives today are. Andi says they've taken "SpouseBuzz" on the road and met with 18 and 19 year-old wives who amaze them with their strength. As Andi said, she can't imagine handling deployments as these young wives are doing.
Frankly I'm very impressed with this generation. They're something special.
A civilian member of the audience asks "how do civilians like me get involved with the families of deployed National Guard and reserve"?
Answer: Call the armory, volunteer what you can do (mow lawns, baby sit, etc). Churches, etc. AmericaSupportsYou.mil is a DoD resource.
Do you ever worry that your blog has an effect on your spouse's career?
They've worried about it and for many, that's why, at least initially, kept their anonymity. But for the most part, reaction has been most favorable.