Posts Tagged ‘military’

How To Celebrate Veterans Day

Friday, November 11th, 2011

It’s that time of year again when everyone from department stores to car dealerships to hair salons suddenly wants to “support the troops”. Companies are hoping to cash in on Veterans Day now and then carry it through the holiday season, which is often a difficult and emotional time for military families. Many vets are alone or struggling, children are missing their deployed parents, and families are stationed far away from the comforts and familiarity of home.

You can call it pessimism if you want, but I am not a fan of corporations using our troops and veterans to sell more stuff. It feels manipulative and cheap. They’re selling more hamburgers and greeting cards, not actual support. What about the men and women who are living those artfully lit, sad background music commercials every day? Support is letting them know we haven’t forgotten about their sacrifice. Support is given with love in mind, not profits.

No matter how you feel about the current conflicts – or war in general – our military is a vital part of keeping all Americans safe and free in an imperfect world. Buying a box of cereal is not the best you can do.

So how can you support past and preset service men and women?

– On a large scale, vote for those who support veterans (and don’t vote for those who don’t) and encourage your representatives to pass legislation that helps veterans get jobs.

– Be aware of the mental health challenges facing veterans. If you see a vet  or their loved one struggling or suspect they need someone to talk to, pass on the number for the Vet Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 press 1) or help them access

– Visit a nursing home and ask to sit with a veteran for an hour to listen to their story. Do you have a relative who is a veteran? Ask if they’d be interested in recording their memories on video or audio to share with future generations.

– Send a care package to someone currently serving. is  great resource to find service men and women with specific needs.

– Support the USO directly, either with a donation or by volunteering your time.

– Call a friend who’s in the military to chat. Bring dinner to a mom whose husband is deployed. Pick up the tab for a service member at a restaurant. Help a local organization clean up veterans’ graves. Volunteer to babysit so a couple can spend some time together before they’re separated by the military again. Do one small thing today that shows you appreciate a vet.

And remember it doesn’t have to be Veterans Day for you to do any of these things. Our men and women in uniform serve 365 days a year and memories of their service last a lifetime.


Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Since I don’t bring up E’s career very often, a quick sum-up so this post makes sense to everyone: My husband is a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and is mostly assigned to nuclear submarines although he’s currently on shore duty. In 2012 he has to go back to a sub.

It looks like E is going to re-enlist again in a few months really soon in October, meaning he is definitely in the Navy for the long haul. We knew he would be re-enlisting at least one more time the LAST time he did it (which seems like just yesterday but was apparently 2 years ago)(having a baby can really make time fly y’all)(I bet you’ve never heard THAT before) because it put him over 10 years, the halfway point. After 20 years of military service you get to keep certain benefits – a pension, base privileges, cheap health care – forever.

Since he enlisted when he was 19, my husband is going to retire at age 39.

To be fair, it’s only a retirement from his first job. He’ll probably find something nuclear power related to do in the civilian world and put in another 20 or 30 years before we get to sell the house, buy a yacht and abandon our children travel the world. But maybe, instead of getting a job where he has to carry a briefcase and wear a tie and commute every day, we’ll start a business. Or buy a bar. Or move to rural Tennessee and live on $1000 a month plus whatever I can make blogging working at Walmart. The thought of a life that boring and normal makes me giddy and lightheaded.

But before we can start making plans like that we have to make it through the next 10 years of Navy life. We will have to move – probably several times. E will be deployed – probably several times. We’ll have to sell this house – the house I love, the house my babies came home to – in a market that means we’ll be lucky if we get out without having to bring money to closing. Forget getting back any of the cash we’ve already put into it. And even more than the material inconvenience of leaving, I cannot even begin to imagine my life without the friends/support system/general awesomeness I have here. In fact, I’m going to have to stop thinking about it right now or risk getting all sweaty and shaky and panicky. Starting over – even after 28 continuous years of experience starting over – is HARD.

To be 100% candid, re-enlisting also comes with a bonus – as in dollars – that would mean our plans to turn the third floor junk room into a guest room (and perhaps the guest room into a second nursery) could happen in the foreseeable future rather than “some day” and our “four bedroom” house could actually be sold as a 4-bedroom house. It would also mean canceling cable is as far as our drastic budget cuts have to go – no buying cans from the dented pile, veggies from the bruised cart of bread from the thrift store (true story: as a kid I thought the Hostess Thrift Shop was where they sold used donuts and muffins). That kind of financial security also makes me giddy and sort of lightheaded.

So there’s an upside to go with the downside. And truthfully, not having to worry about sudden unemployment or layoffs or downsizing or whatever not-at-all helpful euphemism companies are using these days is such a blessing. So I’m going to think about the good parts instead of the maybe-in-a-little-whiles.

Another upside? The uniforms. Oh, yes.

From the day E was pinned (promoted) to Chief

One of the Navy Balls - I was 3 or 4 months pregnant

E doing his best Top Gun impression (I'm still pregnant)

Sailor Sandwich! Tell me you're not jealous.


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