Friday, April 8, 2011

Strength in Numbers

It’s been a long and stressful day and I’m glad they were able to avoid a shutdown at least for the time being. Maybe I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I can’t help but feel jaded by everything. It was pretty clear to me that the government won’t hesitate to throw our military/veterans under the bus and when it’s time to make some cuts, they’re the first in line. That just bothers me and I'm having trouble getting past it. It just seems like it's always something that sends a message loud and clear to our troops that says "hey, we don't appreciate you or the sacrifices you make on behalf of our nation."

First it was considering making wounded veterans pay for healthcare. Then it was the lowest pay increase in almost 40 years followed by no increase in COLA and a drop in BAH unless you were already locked in. That wasn't enough so then it was necessary to force them to pay for Medicare so they wouldn't lose their Tricare coverage. Of course since Tricare is less expensive than civilian health insurance and people use it, let's go ahead and raise the premiums on that as well.

Now I agree the national debt and frivolous spending is way out of control. It's pretty much a train wreck and it saddens me the amount of debt that our country is passing along to future generations. Since two wars were draining the defense budget, it only made sense to add a third one to the mix, right? To make matters worse, our troops are already stretched thin and the VA is so backlogged that it's going to be a long time before things are taken care of the way they should be.

Yet when the ax comes down on the defense budget the troops and their families are the first ones to pay the price. It wasn't that long ago that Michelle Obama and Oprah were on TV going on about how many great things were in store for our military families and how they should never go without. Yet this week before a shutdown was even in place, the pay statements reflected half of the pay that was due or less even for some families. How that could even be an option is beyond me. How do you ask someone to go overseas and fight for our country and possibly give their lives for our country and then tell them you're not going to pay them? There's a price for freedom and when Congress and our government said they wouldn't pay our troops or pay the death benefit to the families of the fallen until an agreement was made, suddenly that price became too high. How do you justify sending our military service members repeatedly overseas as you see fit and expect them to be apart from their families for a year or more at a time and then let them sit in a war zone worrying if they are going to be able to feed their families or keep a roof over their heads?

Our government expects our military to have to miss out on babies being born and missing out on family events or watching their kids growing up on a webcam and they expect it because the sacrifice isn't personal to many of them. Our service members make these sacrifices because they feel it's their duty and honor for our country and yet our so called leaders turned them into pawns for their own political gains. This budget should've been passed in October, before the fall elections. Instead they dragged their feet and waited until the last minute, leaving military members and their families in fear of not seeing a paycheck and wondering how they would survive.

Military life is stressful enough without adding that into the mix and shame on Congress for distracting those serving overseas when they are simply trying to stay alive and make it back home to their families.

Despite the stress and fears that were brought upon our military today, it was nothing short of amazing to see our military families come together as a united front. We supported each other and opened our hearts and homes and did what we could to make it through as a family. There's a bond there that no one can break, a connection between neighbors and strangers all over the world, connected through this roller coaster lifestyle. No doubt there's strength in numbers and we weren't about to give up that pay without a fight and we fought back against the shutdown until our voices were heard.

As my husband finishes out his last few weeks before retirement, I'm proud to be a part of this military family, now and for life.

1 comment:

Holly said...

I 100% agree with you Jen, what a great blog post!


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