We hear stupid statements regarding our children in the military every single day. We are faced again and again with the choice to create a fray of discussion that will always end up in argument or to remain silent. Now, I nearly always choose the later, for a variety of reasons.

First, more often than one would imagine, the words are coming from the mouth of someone I care deeply about. I can choose to start an argument that could have repercussions for years, making every future family gathering miserable, or I can quietly remind myself that the right of this person to utter their opinion is one of the main reasons my military children do what they do. I remind myself that however ignorant, arrogant, hateful, idiotic, hurtful, asinine, (or any combination thereof) those opinions are, they still enjoy the right to voice them, because of the rich history of our military’s protection.

While they rant against the war, the reasons or lack thereof for our military to be deployed, and all of the other things they love to harangue about, I often want to ask if they think I or my spouse or our children actually LOVE war. Do they really think that the choice of our children to serve this country means that they WANT to do the things they must do? The sad truth of the matter is that they do not, will not, and cannot understand. Ever.

I also know that quite often, if I were to open my mouth and say the things that I would like to say, by doing so I could be putting my soldier or other servicemen and women in danger. Information that I am privileged to may win an an argument here, but endanger a mission happening somewhere far far away. So, I choose OPSEC.

The general American public knows very little of what the military life is like. They cannot be taught the things we live with every day. They cannot even begin to fathom what military parents know. So, sometimes we must err on the side of leniency, simply because a fool never can understand his own foolishness.

Statements like, “Soldiers today don’t really know what sacrifice is, not like the soldiers in WWI did!” will make your blood boil. You are faced with the choice to do battle or walk away.

When you hear someone boasting that they support the troops because they put a dollar in a collection jar or stuck a sticker on their car, take a deep breath. Choose whether it is worth the battle.

When they proclaim that they would never allow their child to go into the military, just smile. Walk away knowing that while they may have raised a very nice, decent selfishly materialistic child, you have raised a caring, strong, selflessly heroic one. That battle has already been won, we do not need to fight it again.

Our service men and women may not have much choice in which battles they face, but as their family and their supporting foundation, we do. Choose your battles wisely. Your blood pressure will thank you for it!


Do Not Take Your Life

Do not take your life!

Lay your weapon to the floor.

Better days lie just ahead;

Help is knocking at your door.

You cannot see but darkness

Through the fog of pain you know

But hope and help waits ‘oer the ridge

You CAN defeat this foe!

Do not take your life

Because you want the pain to end

Or the pain will never stop

For your family and your friends.

It ricochets like bullets

To wound the hearts of others

For you are loved and cherished

By your family and brothers

Take a breath and step back

Pick up the phone and call

We will run to walk beside you

We will not let you fall!

We know you feel abandoned,

We know you are in pain;

We want to lend assistance

For a better life to gain.

There is hope within your reaching,

There are ways to overcome;

With God and friends and family

This war still can be won!

You may not see an ending;

The enemy closes in ~

Do not let it take you,

No! DO NOT let it win!

Do not take your life, dear one,

Lay your weapon to the floor.

Better days DO lie ahead!

Help is waiting at your door.

©Carol Bartlett Channer, October 2014

A Prayer For Our Heroes

From the depths of my gut

I fear and I ache

For our heroes in harm’s ugly path

News of be-headings, of horrors untold;

Of enemy faces that laugh.

These images drive me

Anew to my knees

To cry out for mercy and grace ~

Let the defenders of freedom

Stay brave, and stay strong

And most of all ~

Let them stay safe!

Bring leaders of countries

Again to their senses,

To make hard decisions of action;

Joining together, a fortress of strength,

To take down this enemy faction.

As families await, pray, and worry at home

As innocents quake, pray, and hide

As the tasks ahead grow harder to face

Let us not turn our Maker aside . . .

As a nation we must look again to our faith

To guide us to do what is right,

We lavish our soldiers with pleadings and prayers

For their safety both day and by night.

God grant them the wisdom, the sixth sense, the eyes

That keep them alert, ever wary;

Through the deepest of darkness,

Lord, show them Your Light;

Ease the heaviest burdens they carry.

To those who give all, lift them into Your realm;

Welcome them with Your loving embrace,

Please comfort their loved ones who’s tears ever flow;

Grant them peace, and Your spirit of grace.

Those who return, Lord, with wounds yet unseen,

Help them live without guilt or abandon.

Let them feel Your presence and know in their heart

They did well the task they were handed.

Speak to their souls, soothe their fears and their hurts;

For their service should bring great reward,

Let them live with Your power flowing within;

With their minds, hearts and bodies restored.

Grant our pleas for our brave ones who serve

Let our grateful praise-song never cease.

Let us never forget the price they have paid

For our country, our freedom, our peace.

© Carol Channer, October 2014