Please STOP telling military families that their loved one "signed up for it" - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see this all over the media, I hear it in real life, I even read it here. I find it especially distressing and distasteful when this is said to someone whose loved one has been killed in the line of duty.

The top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee said (bold mine):

"Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration -- what I call the 'dancing in the street crowd,' that we just simply will be greeted with open arms," Lugar said. "The nonsense of all of that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent."

The British Commander who rallied the troops on the eve of invading Iraq now has (bold mine):

"...condemned the lack of planning for the aftermath of the conflict... "

My spouse signed up to serve his country and he would gladly die for this country. In return, I, as his spouse, expect, at a minimum, scrupulous intelligence and planning of the highest quality before we committ troops.

Whether or not your buying Bush's line about the WMD, there is no denying that things on the ground have not gone according to plan. We vastly underestimated the amount of resistance and the resources of the insurgents who have wrest back control of several major cities.

Yes, I am angry. And it doesn't have one damn thing to do with not understanding what my husband signed up for. I fully support him in doing what his country has asked of him. Why am I expected to not question or feel anger about what is asked of him? Would all of you who offer this platitude be okay with your spouse or son or daughter dying for their country under any circumstances? Is there nothing that would make you think maybe it was a waste?

If you wouldn't tell a person whose child died in a car accident, "Well, they knew that could happen when they got in the car"; if you wouldn't tell a spouse whose wife died in childbirth, "Well, she knew that could happen when she got pregnant"; then don't offer up empty platitudes to those of us whose loved ones are fighting (& dying) for this country.

Thank you.
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#2 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 05:08 PM
 
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Thank you, Pug.

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#3 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 05:29 PM
 
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bump

Yup.
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#4 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 05:49 PM
 
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2

I'm sorry you have to hear this garbage.
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#5 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 05:56 PM
 
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I'm really glad you posted this. I wanted to say something on another thread here today about this, but you've said it far better than I.
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#6 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 05:57 PM
 
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I will have to disagree with you. When you enlist you agree to serve in the military and do what ever it/they say. This does not mean you will like it or agree with it!!

This does not mean you can have negative emotions for what and were he is doing but your negative emotions need to be coupled with some understanding that your spouce did agree to serve his country in any fashion the military/president seems fit.

My grandfather is retired Navy did my mom feel angry when he had to go away? Yes!! Did my grandmother feel frustration and anger when he had to go away? Yes!! But it was couple with the knowledge that after his first enlistment they consciencely agree to take the military life.

My dad got in the gaurd to get out of going to Vietnam. He also holds a civil service position. After his first enlistment was up it was a conscience decission. My dad got out of 'Nam but has go to every H*ll whole since then. He cannot get mad at them when he signs those papers and don't find another job (and for him there has been plenty). My dad works radio and communication systems that would be in control towers and/or air plans.

My mom and step-dad are retired from the military the story is the same.

My step-mom's father is a retired Col from the Army. His attitude is the same.

This does not mean that anybody agrees to this war. None agreed with Vetnaim either but they were not force to join or rejoin. My dad was force to either go gaurd or get drafted but he re-enlisted.

Many people go in the military not completely understanding that when you join you agree to do things you possible disagree with. I was military, I did not realize this until I had my son. I could not leave him. I promptly got out.

This does not mean you cannot hold angry feelings about what is going on but it does mean you need to create a balance that you/your spouce did agree to serve the military needs as THE MILITARY SEE fit.

I go want to give you a big hug. I know what you are going through is hard. I have been the spouce and the child that has a family member away. I have been scared for my love ones. I have been angry that they had to miss ---put in activity---. I have been lonely and afraid. But as I carried all those feelings I have to couple it with the knowledge it was a conscious descision.

I do think people saying "Well you signed up for it." can seem to down play the very real emotions you are having. In some ways it does but at the same time I think a balance needs to be created with in yourself.

It is like I decided to be a sahm. With this decission I agreed to all the stuff that comes with it. Even the bad stuff like being broke and worried about how to pay the water bill.
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#7 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 06:01 PM
 
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when people sign up for the military, and there are alot of varied reasons why they do so, they agree to serve their country. They are not agreeing to be used as a flesh farm to secure profits for Halliburton.
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#8 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 06:16 PM
 
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I agree it's totally inappropriate to tell people who are frightened or grieving the equivalent of "it's his/her own fault for being killed/ in danger." That's just plain bad manners. And yes, military families have the right to question government decisions the same way anyone else does.

But, I think given the military's record over the last 50 years, anyone who does sign up MUST be aware that they're far more likely to be fighting for profit rather than human rights or national security.
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#9 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 07:23 PM
 
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Thanks for posting this. I have been told the same in reference to my brother's service in Iraq.

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#10 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 07:57 PM
 
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On one hand, I understand the agony that the military families are going through, and it brings tears to my eyes when I think of the sacrifice that they are making. On the other hand, I get just as tired of hearing them whine about having to serve active duty as you get of hearing the "you signed up for it" response. If you aren't willing to serve active duty, then why are you in the military? Why are the American people paying you to train and do drills if you aren't willing to do those things in real life if need be? It's not just fun and games - being in the military is serious stuff.

Yes, I understand that not everything was done 100% correctly and that our reasons for going to Iraq were not 100% watertight. However, nothing anyone ever does is 100% correct. We're human. We do the best we can with what we know. I just cannot believe that people in Washington are putting our troops in harms way unnecessarily intentionally.

I guess there are things you can change and things you can't change. If you sign up for the military, you take the risk that you might go to active duty, and you also take the risk that you may not agree 100% with the mission you are sent on. You choose to be in the military - you don't choose whether or not you are called up for active duty once you sign up.

Yes, it's tough knowing your loved one is in harm's way. We're doing our best to see that 9/11 doesn't happen again. I feel for the families of the people serving in our military just as much as I feel for the families of the victims of 9/11. If we do nothing, we only increase the odds that 9/11 will happen again...only worse. If we do something, we don't know for sure that we will prevent another 9/11, but like I said, we are doing our best. Are the lives of the people in the military any more important than those who died in 9/11? Should the families of another 5000 people have to suffer the loss of their loved ones just so our military families won't have to risk the lives of their loved ones being lost in active duty?

I want to again emphasize that I really feel for the families, and I do everything I can to help those I know. But I get so tired of hearing them whine about having to serve. It's like getting a job as a telephone operator and then being upset that you have to talk on the telephone all day. Did you think you were going to just look at the telephone?

I never tell people "that's what they signed up for" because I think it is insensitive and unkind. I'm only posting because I get as tired of hearing the whining as you get of hearing people tell you "that's what they signed up for."

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#11 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 08:14 PM
 
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yesterday a mother was hancuffed and taken from a Laura Bush rally (thread is here in this forum). Her son was killed in Iraq.

One of the things that was yelled at her was something like "your son knew what he was doing when he signed up."

Honestly, I don't believe she was whining about the military. She is in grief and this war that was offered to her son is not the war we are having now.
the only thing we know for certain.
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#12 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 09:16 PM
 
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Quote:
es, it's tough knowing your loved one is in harm's way. We're doing our best to see that 9/11 doesn't happen again. I feel for the families of the people serving in our military just as much as I feel for the families of the victims of 9/11. If we do nothing, we only increase the odds that 9/11 will happen again...only worse. If we do something, we don't know for sure that we will prevent another 9/11, but like I said, we are doing our best. Are the lives of the people in the military any more important than those who died in 9/11? Should the families of another 5000 people have to suffer the loss of their loved ones just so our military families won't have to risk the lives of their loved ones being lost in active duty?
And how many times does it have to be said that there are

NO TIES BETWEEN THE TERRORIST FROM 9/11 AND IRAQ

NO TIES BETWEEN THE TERRORIST FROM 9/11 AND IRAQ

NO TIES BETWEEN THE TERRORIST FROM 9/11 AND IRAQ



Anyway,

i don't think you deserve to have to hear that over and over, pug. Its just a cheap and easy way for people to releive their conscienceness of the guilt they might feel about it.
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#13 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pageta
... On the other hand, I get just as tired of hearing them whine about having to serve active duty as you get of hearing the "you signed up for it" response. If you aren't willing to serve active duty, then why are you in the military? Why are the American people paying you to train and do drills if you aren't willing to do those things in real life if need be? It's not just fun and games - being in the military is serious stuff. ..
My spouse has been on active duty for 15 years. This is our families fourth deployment of 6 months or over. My BIL, also a Naval Aviator was killed in a training accident.

I do not need you to tell me this is not fun and games. I do not need you to tell me why my husband has been trained.

What I need is for people to stop labeling my concern about my husband's well-being as whining. What I need for people who have no clue about my life to stop assuming they have the right to tell me what's what. What I need is for there to be at least a basic level of respect.

Apparently, what I need is more than some people are able/willing to give.

Please, just be compassionate.
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#14 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 09:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugmadmama
My spouse has been on active duty for 15 years. This is our families fourth deployment of 6 months or over. My BIL, also a Naval Aviator was killed in a training accident.

I do not need you to tell me this is not fun and games. I do not need you to tell me why my husband has been trained.

What I need is for people to stop labeling my concern about my husband's well-being as whining. What I need for people who have no clue about my life to stop assuming they have the right to tell me what's what. What I need is for there to be at least a basic level of respect.

Apparently, what I need is more than some people are able/willing to give.

Please, just be compassionate.
You have every right to be concerned about your husband's well-being, whether he volunteered or not, whether you support the war or not. Don't let it get you down.
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#15 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 09:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srain
I think given the military's record over the last 50 years, anyone who does sign up MUST be aware that they're far more likely to be fighting for profit rather than human rights or national security.
I SORT of agree with this, but if it were entirely true then not many people would sign up. Many sign up in the hopes that they will be doing good and helping others - be it naive or not.
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#16 of 37 Old 09-17-2004, 09:54 PM
 
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I don't find "whining" an appropiate thing to say. How very unkind.

They are not complaining about "active duty" they are complaining about deployment.

My BIL was in Afghanastan for 10 months, he and my sister have three children and live hundreds of miles from my family at Ft Bragg. Do you really think it was easy for my sister?

My other BIL is currently home on leave from Bagdad. By the time his deployment should be over he will have been there over a year. My sister and he have a little girl.

Don't you think there are reasons the military branches have the slogan "Military wife, toughest job in the military."

It is rough as hell and the military families should have our support. How can someone claim to support the troops and then dismiss their families going through such a hard time as whining?

You can't.

And not all of our troops are volunteers anymore. The better and more well trained soldiers are having a heck of a time dropping papers because of the stop losses.

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#17 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 01:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy
The better and more well trained soldiers are having a heck of a time dropping papers because of the stop losses.
Can you tell me what you mean here?
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#18 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 01:36 AM
 
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art4babies when the military gets in a war time situation and/or a man shortage they will put a stop loss order in. People cannot get out as easy as before.

They might also recall people. When you sign up you enlist for 8 amount of years (I will use my enlistment as example). I only had to actively serve in the Guard for 6 of those years. The other 2 of those years I was on what is called Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). All enlistments are like this even if the years different.

Many people don't understand when they are in the IRR they can still be called back up to serve. Some soldiers have been recalled this way. It is part of what they agreed to. Nobody that is recalled likes it.

As it stands now I have not heard of any military member go past thier enlistment IRR time.
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#19 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 02:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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First, thank you to everyone for your support. It means more to me than I can say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy
... How can someone claim to support the troops and then dismiss their families going through such a hard time as whining?

You can't...


I've cooled off a little and I'm going to try this one more time, just because I do believe that people mean well, even if their words hurt.

It's just as simple as this...it hurts when someone trys to put a qualifer on your pain. That's it. It's not political. It's not pro or anti war.

I just want it to be okay for military families to be upset, or to mourn, or even to rage without people belittling it with the line, "he signed up for it."

I don't remember people telling the widows of the fireman of 9/11, "Sorry for your loss, but he signed up for it." Why is it okay to say that to military families? Why do people feel compelled to point out the painfully obvious? There's no draft, of course s/he signed up for it. We know, far better than any civilian family, that s/he signed up for it.

So what is the point of saying it? I'm geniunely curious. If anyone has a compassionate reason for saying something that military families already know, I'd love to hear it.
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#20 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 02:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugmadmama
I don't remember people telling the widows of the fireman of 9/11, "Sorry for your loss, but he signed up for it."
Umm... yeah. Why is that? Why do we have such a disdain for the military volunteers when we would be in a world of hurt without them. By the way, not all military are gung-ho, sexist, gun-slinging, right-wing, pro-war meatheads that can't think for themselves. Some are, some aren't. Those that can think for themselves probably hope to death that our leaders don't take us into a war for profit.

Marsupialmom: thanks for explaining/clarifying that - it makes a lot of sense and people should be aware of that.
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#21 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 02:47 AM
 
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Stop losses prevent soldiers from leaving the military even if the time they signed up for is up.

I know of a soldier, an officer in the special forces who has tried to drop papers (leave the military) in the past few years and was refused both times. He is now well over the time he promised to serve the military.

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#22 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 02:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy
Stop losses prevent soldiers from leaving the military even if the time they signed up for is up.

I know of a soldier, an officer in the special forces who has tried to drop papers (leave the military) in the past few years and was refused both times. He is now well over the time he promised to serve the military.
Yea - I heard about this - it rather sucks.
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#23 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 02:59 AM
 
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Pug, I cringe every time I hear that "s/he signed up for it" crap. I have lots of ideas of WHY people say this but basically, it's inexcusable.
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#24 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 03:19 AM
 
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What sucks more about stop loss is someone dying 3 weeks after they were not only supposed to be home, but supposed to be released from AD but because of stop loss they weren't. Happened to a family friend...

And pug- thanks for starting this thread, I tend to stay out of w&p because I don't want to keep seeing the crap like that said about the military.

Any of you that said "but s/he signed up for it" do you not have bad days as a parent? Do you not have bad days at your job (if you work) or ever once complain about your partner's job? If you have ever had ppd and vented/talked about it would you want someone to say "well you signed up for parenthood when you chose to continue the pregnancy and give birth so suck it up and don't complain about it?" Oh right it's only ok to say it to someone in the military because they signed up for the joy of killing people. : Not everyone in the military signs up to shoot foreigners. The majority want college money and have some naive idea they won't get called to war and the rest know that someone has to sign up and defend this country and want to genuinely help.

ITA with the 9/11 firefighter reference already said also.
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#25 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 03:23 AM
 
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what never ceases to amaze me is that this crap is always out of the mouths of those that just love to send our troops anywhere int he world for any reason, you know, the real gung ho types.
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#26 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 03:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mama ganoush
what never ceases to amaze me is that this crap is always out of the mouths of those that just love to send our troops anywhere int he world for any reason, you know, the real gung ho types.
ummm... what ummm, crap, are you referring to?
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#27 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 03:56 AM
 
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pugmad, my dear.... you have said something that needed saying. You have said it well. You are right as rain on this issue. Blessings to you and your family.
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#28 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 01:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by art4babies
ummm... what ummm, crap, are you referring to?
ummm, the crap that is the subject of this whole thread. Sorry that wasn't clear.
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#29 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 05:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugmadmama
It's just as simple as this...it hurts when someone trys to put a qualifer on your pain. That's it. It's not political. It's not pro or anti war.

I just want it to be okay for military families to be upset, or to mourn, or even to rage without people belittling it with the line, "he signed up for it."

I don't remember people telling the widows of the fireman of 9/11, "Sorry for your loss, but he signed up for it." Why is it okay to say that to military families? Why do people feel compelled to point out the painfully obvious? There's no draft, of course s/he signed up for it. We know, far better than any civilian family, that s/he signed up for it.

So what is the point of saying it? I'm geniunely curious. If anyone has a compassionate reason for saying something that military families already know, I'd love to hear it.
I agree - it is terrible to say such a thing. I would NEVER say that to someone even though I've thought it many times. Just because something is true doesn't mean it should be said. I do everything I can to support the military families I know regardless of how tired I get of hearing them whine about being deployed. So I agree with you 100%. If I ever heard someone actually say such a thing to one of my military friends, I'd have words with them.

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#30 of 37 Old 09-18-2004, 06:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy
I don't find "whining" an appropiate thing to say. How very unkind.

They are not complaining about "active duty" they are complaining about deployment.

My BIL was in Afghanastan for 10 months, he and my sister have three children and live hundreds of miles from my family at Ft Bragg. Do you really think it was easy for my sister?

My other BIL is currently home on leave from Bagdad. By the time his deployment should be over he will have been there over a year. My sister and he have a little girl.

Don't you think there are reasons the military branches have the slogan "Military wife, toughest job in the military."

It is rough as hell and the military families should have our support. How can someone claim to support the troops and then dismiss their families going through such a hard time as whining?

You can't.

And not all of our troops are volunteers anymore. The better and more well trained soldiers are having a heck of a time dropping papers because of the stop losses.
Well, I'm talking about whining about deployment - sorry for the incorrect use of terms.

Yes, I know it is terribly difficult on families. But there are things that can be changed and there are things that cannot be changed. Actually, I feel quite sorry for the people that whine about being deployed. I don't mind hearing about their hardships as a result of deployment, but the fact that deployment seems to be a surprise to them is why I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for anyone who spends energy bemoaning things they cannot change because it only multiplies their misery.

I understand that it is very difficult. Change the things you can, and quit wasting your effort being upset about the things you cannot change. If people would take that approach, I would be so much more motivated to help them deal with their situation than discouraged by the fact that I have to live under their dark cloud every time I try to help them. It's hard to help people who are trying to change things that cannot be changed. If you need food, I will bring you food. If you need a shirt, I will give you the one off my back. But I cannot bring home the person who signed up to be in the military and now has been deployed. There is only so much I can do to help. Being in the military means that you will follow orders whether you agree with them or not. If people were drafted, that would be one thing. But when they signed up for it, I get so frustrated with having to hear them complain about it. It really makes it difficult for me to want to help them sometimes.

Do you understand what I am trying to say? I support the families 100% but I find it difficult to be around them when they complain about things that cannot be changed by them or me. That's what I'm trying to get at.

And if you're complaining about something that cannot be changed, then yes, it is whining. Sorry.

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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