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!