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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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military

Whole Family Serves

I have learned the hard way that families who have never had a military member have no understanding of what being deployed is all about. To those who have a deployed member or have paid the ultimate sacrifice, I salute you. You are what makes this country free and you are the ones that understand what the U.S. flag means to those who fight for it. Thank you! Continue reading “Whole Family Serves”

Straight Edge Movement

I had never heard of the Straight Edge movement so decided it would be good to share this new information (to me) with you. “Straight Edge is a subculture and subgenre of hardcore punk whose adherents refrain from using alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs. The movement adopted the term from the song “Straight Edge” by the 1980s hardcore punk band, Minor Threat.” [courtesy National Day of Calendar] Continue reading “Straight Edge Movement”

Just a Youngster

Do you know how young the Air Force actually is? During the Civil War flags and torch lights from aerial balloons were used for visual communications sending messages from above. The Signal Corps became an official branch of the Army in 1863. After that the “air corps” went through many names and commands. My father was a member of the Army Air Corp during WWII. Finally in 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act establishing the United States Air Force as a separate branch of the military, the result being advanced technology and superior airman. Continue reading “Just a Youngster”

Freedom Isn’t Free

According to the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency there are still 82,468 military members listed as missing in action from as far back as WWII through current day. Think about that a minute. That’s a lot of families that don’t know what happened to a loved one and are still wondering if they are alive or dead. It’s the not knowing that can eat at your soul. Continue reading “Freedom Isn’t Free”

Thank a Paratrooper

August 16, 1940, marks the date of the first official Army parachute jump at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The successful jump validated the innovative concept of inserting United States ground combat forces behind a battle line by parachute. These sky soldiers represent some of the most prestigious and effectively trained forces in the United States Army. (courtesy of National Day of calendar) Continue reading “Thank a Paratrooper”

A War with a Beginning and an End

I belong to a Veteran’s Writing Group in my local area. The group welcomes veterans plus their family and friends. I go as an ex-wife of an Air Force member and a staunch supporter of all veterans. There are nine of us that attend regularly. The effects of war, and the rationale of it, or lack-thereof, are common threads in our memoir writing.  Continue reading “A War with a Beginning and an End”

Too Many Suffer

It’s National PTSD Awareness Day. I had to study the picture to figure out what it was showing me. In case you need help, the background is camouflage, for a military uniform, and there is a tear running from the very healthy looking green eye.

I know a lot of people who suffer from PTSD, not all military. The men and women who have served in war zones and seen the effects of combat on the human body suffer, mostly in silence, trying to make sense of the senseless. Generally it is an invisible problem, so easy for someone else to say, “Well, he/she came home without a scratch.” There might not be any visible wound, but I can guarantee they have emotional ones. Some just deal with it better than others. A friend named Norm had the job of arming war head bombs during the Korean War. He never was in a war zone himself, but to this day he wonders if any of those bombs he loaded, killed anyone. It keeps him awake at night, even after all these years.

Another group who suffer from PTSD are parents who have buried children. The siblings of that child suffer also. I just read an article by Paula Stephens entitled “What I Wish More People Understood About Losing a Child”. She called the death of a child an “out-of-order death”. It’s unnatural. The pain never goes away and the child’s birthday and the day they became an angel are the toughest days of the year for the family. The power of the date is sometimes overwhelming. If you know anyone in this category mention to them the fact you remember something about their child. It helps them to know people haven’t forgotten their baby (no matter the age).

Sometimes even a stressful job can result in PTSD symptoms for those who did the job. Police officers, medical personnel, company heads, and anyone who has dealt with a traumatic situation are in that group. And their spouses and families suffer with them. It is proven that support groups can help people who deal with PTSD, but it is also a fact that too many people don’t look for a group because “they can handle it on their own”. I find that sad. I thinks it’s very helpful for a person to know they aren’t the only one who feels the way they do and they are still normal, maybe with a new definition of normal.

It’s a Team Effort

It’s National Military Spouse Appreciation Day. This day is always celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day. We all know, in the past that would have been very appropriate. The stereo-type still has most people thinking it’s only men in the military, but that is no longer the case. I didn’t check, but perhaps this day should also be celebrated the Friday before Father’s Day.

I’m an ex-spouse of an Air Force member. I’m proud that I was able to serve my country in that capacity. Serve, you ask? You’re darn right! We left our families behind, went where we were told, when we were told, and my kids have no real roots as their schools changed as often as our address did. I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining, but a transient life at the will of Uncle Sam is a lot less grounded than a life close to your own hometown with the folks handy to call on when a baby is about to arrive or one of the kids is sick.

In war-time when a military spouse is deployed, the other spouse is left holding all the responsibilities of the family. I have had people say to me, “Well, you knew that’s what you signed up for.” That’s true, but again, it’s not the same when you are in a foreign country or living on a military installation that is in the boonies of a state you are unfamiliar with. The best part is, the other spouses are in the same situation, and you bond quickly with the neighbors. The sad part, is when you get transferred, you rarely hear from those people again. It truly is a nomadic way of life. In my case, the experiences I had and the places I got to live and visit made up for that.

Some civil service jobs give preference to ex-military members. I feel that should also be extended to the ex-military dependents but I doubt that will ever happen.

I fly an American flag, correctly lit, 24/7. My time as a military spouse has given me an understanding that people not connected to the military don’t have and I’m proud of it. Next time you see a military member and think of saying thank you to them, add, and to your family too. I’m sure they will appreciate it.

Freedom Isn’t Free

Every May 1 Americans honor the sacrifices of the combat wounded, ill and dying service members on Silver Star Service Banner Day. The history of the service banner dates back to 1917 or 1918, following the suggestions of Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defenses.  The use of Blue and Gold Star Service Banners was formally adopted into the United States Code and made official, leaving the Silver Star Service Flag overlooked.  A new Silver Star Service Flag and Banner were designed and were quickly accepted widely used throughout the United States. The United States House of Representatives passed H Res. 855, a stand-alone resolution on April 21, 2010, making the SSFOA Silver Star Service Banner official and making May 1 Silver Star Service Banner Day. {Courtesy National Day of Calendar}

I’m glad the U. S. as a whole has come to the conclusion that our service members should be recognized and thanked, whether we agree with the conflict they have been involved in or not. Why we are involved in a conflict is an argument to be taken up with our government. When a new military member raises their hand and says they will serve, they are expected to take orders and follow them without question. It isn’t their choice where they go or if they want to do what is expected of them. It is a sacrifice from the very beginning, family days no longer exist, and staying close to home is a rarity.

When a service member returns from assignment, or finishes their enlistment, they often come home with visible and invisible scars. It’s easy to recognize a facial scar, or missing limb. It’s not easy to recognize what they are now calling “brain trauma”. That refers to the emotional wounds from being involved in combat; what they had to do to survive, or what they saw happen right next to them. War is ugly, sometimes expectations in a non-war zone are just as ugly.

I share this in case you don’t have any personal connection to someone who has served in our military, in an attempt to educate. Our service members deserve recognition and that is what the Silver Star Service Banner Day is all about.

 

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