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What Veterans Day Means For Me, A Gold Star Wife
Growing up, I was always was in awe of those who served in the military, even though I wasn’t related to anyone who did. My appreciation grew when I was in high school, when 9/11 happened. I spent much of my free time then volunteering at the local USO, sending letters, and packing care packages for those who volunteered to go to take the fight to enemy, trying in my own way as a high school student to understand the gravity of it all.
Then I met my husband-to-be, Chris, and fell in love with him right away — because he was a man of honor, integrity, and one who loved his country more than anything. He loved it enough to volunteer during war time to serve as a sniper — not because he hated what was in front of him, but because he loved what was behind him. And I loved him for it.
When the two uniformed officers knocked on my door on Sept. 9, 2011, just before his 27th birthday, to tell me Chris had been killed, it was completely devastating.
During Chris’ deployment, there were many nights I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t just because of Chris, but because of all the American service members “over there” while I was sleeping in my suburban, middle-class, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on a fluffy down pillow. They were fighting, and volunteered to do so, so I could continue the life I lived, and sleep in peace. Service members continue to fight, over and over again — deploying multiple times or serving at home.
After Chris’ death, the world didn’t know how to interact with me, or understand what he gave, and I watched how my more and more of my country didn’t understand our troops. And I still watch it today. The civilian-military divide is growing, and I can’t imagine what it is like to wade through a “new normal” with a country and population you fought to protect that doesn’t understand you.
Many service members are out of the service now, and going to school and starting new careers — feeling behind compared to those in our generation who chose not to go to war and instead reap the benefits that veterans fought for.
Veterans have come home to families who don’t recognize them, to face their own self in the mirror, to face their own pain, to know that they are not where they feel they should be in a world full of humans who like to dot Is and cross Ts, but don’t necessarily understand what is really important in life.
There is nothing in this world, or in this life more noble, and nothing in my life I am more grateful for than those who served our country — for what they have given, all they have sacrificed, and the years they spent fighting for my life and the lives of all Americans.
To everyone who has served, although this country may not understand you, and it may seem sometimes as if they forget what you gave, I remember.
And I will never forget.
As for my husband, I will spend the rest of my days honoring him, and remembering him. In each and every one service member, I see him, I see his spirit live on, and I see who he would have been. I see the good, the bad, and the hardships they have had to face.
From the deepest parts of my heart, I am grateful.
I will spend the rest of my life honoring our men and women in and out of uniform and engaging in the country they stood up and even bled for. Today, and every day, I remember them and thank them.
And, in my own way, I fight for them.
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.