I have to say this because I’ve been seriously disturbed by the lack of chatter about this incident on Twitter. I’m referring to the shootings at Fort Hood Thursday night. Seriously, people, this is messed up beyond belief. The officer did not want to be deployed, so he decided to open gunfire in a center that was filled with FELLOW soldiers who were either also about to be deployed or, even worse, returning from deployment. Let me repeat that – he opened fire on fellow soldiers who had just successfully returned from deployment. !!!!
This is despicable behavior in my opinion. My husband served almost eight years in the U.S. Army, eight years we both really enjoyed in spite of the nearly constant time apart. He was fortunate enough to never experience the second Gulf War but he spent almost a year in Bosnia back when that was still a hot spot. As a family member, you live for the day when your soldier/officer returns home. The date on the calendar is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when your child is sick, you are sick, the nearest relative is five hours away, and you just moved to the area and have no friends to call for help. Those family members in Texas were anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones and already rejoicing that they had made it home safely – all to have that joy taken away by the selfish acts of one person. There are not enough horrible words in the English language to describe my feels for that man.
Some people out there are going to say that this is proof positive that we need to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq because it is making our soldiers crazy. Yes, our military is stretched incredibly thin. Yes, our soldiers have seen and experienced things that no man or woman should really ever have to experience. However, we have to remember that these soldiers VOLUNTEERED. They are freely putting their lives in danger to protect our interests, our freedoms. No matter how you feel about the political machinations that are requiring them to be deployed to foreign soil, every soldier deserves the utmost respect and appreciation for their chosen role as our protectors.
The military does a very good job of stressing that it is one big family. Some of our closest friends today are those we met while we were serving. We may not see each other or talk to each other that often, but they will always be lifelong friends because of the fact that when we served together, we were family. We protected one another, looked out for one another, and supported one another in times of need. Those types of bonds last forever. Apparently, the Army major involved in yesterday’s shooting failed to learn those lessons or opted to ignore the lesson that military takes care of its own. To me, that is the biggest issue I have.
All families lament the idea of deployments. Very few soldiers truly want to go into combat. However, they do it out of a sense of duty and obligation to their country. If the major did not want to be deployed, he should have never joined the military in the first place. His actions were horribly selfish and just beyond words.
However, my heart goes out to the family members. To have experienced the anguish of being apart and the constant worry that accompanies a deployment to a combat zone to joy that they made it back to heartbreak at losing your loved one to such a senseless act – I cannot fathom what they are experiencing right now. If anything, we need to stop remaining quiet about it and start offering our support. Our support should not be just for the families involved in this tragedy but for all families who have someone in the military. They all deserve the help, protection, and support from each and every one of us. It is the least we can do as a country to honor the role their loved one is playing in protecting our country.
God bless those families who so tragically lost their loved ones yesterday. God bless those families who still have loved ones in the far reaches of the globe, fighting mysterious combatants in the name of freedom. Most importantly, God bless our soldiers for heeding a call to arms that most people just do not receive or understand and for protecting our freedoms.