The More Real "Left Behind" Agony
The spouse left behind to tend to all that is required to care for family needs is indeed messy. I used the
word noble to try to cast the need for persistent, diligent, dogged and determined courage for the left behind spouse to persevere
as an unacknowledged nobility. I'm not sure I want to elevate the fact of the grittiness to a higher level as much as try
to focus some attention on military family life in times of deployment.
I do take exception to the use of "wringing our hands". That is campaign propaganda that has lived on past it's intended
usefulness. President Bush was re-elected and is in place for his second term. The time for the campaign talk has come to
a close and doesn't serve well to bring us together, rather serves to keep us divided. I am not inclined to participate in
furthering that agenda. And I'm not sure I am wringing my hands in distress as much as taking a position of activism to stave
off the state of wringing my hands and doing nothing more.
I respect the long rich history of each of our family's military service. It surely covers our country's recent history
in war activities. Actually, I take a slightly different view of purpose of military. While it is and should be war-ready,
I'm not sure that the function of having a ready military is the act of war as much as a preventive presence to prevent war.
Ahhh, but then I come from the cold-war era so it may color my thinking some.
911, well, the simplicity of what has become popular news is that
a) we were attacked by outside, foreign, democracy-hating and brutal terrorists;
b) it was Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden (gee who told us that, by the way, and how did they know so quickly after the
fact yet not before the fact?);
c) our country was unprepared and defenseless against this supposed surprise attack;
d) we must now engage to wipe out terrorists everywhere. Those are the popular stories and reporting and thus the popular
I'm not sure I want to get into an exploration of the events of 911, as it was indeed a tragic assault inside our borders
and left us as a country feeling fragile and awakened to our vulnerability as a nation on the changing world stage. On the
day of 911, however, as I watched with the rest of the country, my own childhood military brat background came charging to
the fore with one single question; "where are our birds in the air"?
When my Air Force family was stationed at SAC, Omaha, by osmosis and sometimes explanation, I learned from my father
that our country was always in readiness mode against any incoming or perceived attack/threat and birds would be in the air
instantly and all over it.
No one needed to tell me what I was viewing was not entirely suspicious without the activity of our own Air Force/Norad
in movement. It left a strong impression that still causes me to have doubts about the popular accounting of what happened
911. That tends to continue to color my thinking about all the events that followed taking us into war in Iraq as relevant
to a response to 911.
Our troops, when deployed, do what they are trained to do: follow orders and keep questions to themselves, which applies
as well to their families. Again, I am not challenging that discipline or premise. It is as it has always been and likely
always will be for the military culture, troops and families.
Even so, do you not sense within that we need citizens of our country to ask the challenging questions and expect reasonable
explanations as to why it is necessary to send troops into combat?
By now the glaring falsehoods that predicated the need to take the troops to combat in Iraq are abundantly clear.
Now that the administration has put us in this position, is it not reasonable to continue to both challenge and ask questions
about the validity, purpose, function, outcome, duration and reflect on if our nation is strengthened or weakened by the continued
Citizens need to do that, in my opinion, if they are taking an active role of participation in our country's well being.
Military families, by their very culture, are enjoined from participating with much of a public voice.
I have chosen a different role as a military family who still holds with the values of military culture. I see a need
to strengthen the role that military families hold in this particular war as I see us moving from the decades of cold war
to decades of hot war. This is not the legacy I see for my loved ones who enlisted in the military, nor am I sure it is the
role they anticipated for themselves, to become life-long warriors, in combat repeatedly and indefinitely.
Lietta Ruger Publisher, Legacy