It's the second day of 2012. Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? I have. Yes, there are the standard ones about watching weight, exercising, following dreams. But thanks to the fact that I have children who follow through with being responsible, one of them in uniform, I came to understand there were responsibilities needing to be answered to by those of us who are blessed to simply be regular citizens of this wonderful country that I still firmly believe in.
I was just a child of six when a family friend I refer to as Uncle Willie came home from Vietnam. I have a picture of the two of us that I have kept for the past 42 years. He is honestly the only person I remember seeing in person in uniform during what I would find out later in school several years down the road was in fact a time of war.
During my teens, 20s and 30s, I lived life without friends and family dealing with war situations. It was part of history to me. War movies usually ended with a happy ending and most seemed to be in black and white except for one of my favorite shows, the series MASH.
I became an Air Force wife in my late 20s and I was 100% involved in my husband and childrens' lives and our time on the military bases we were assigned to. I was a leader in our enlisted wives' club, secretary of the school PTA, soccer coach and baseball team mom. I was proud to be a military spouse. I was just as proud knowing from the plans my sons were making to one day be a military mom.
Today, I am still proud to be a mom who's son fought for the country he believes in. To be honest, though? My first wish would be to do the last ten years over. My resolution for the new year, however, comes from the fact that I have lived as a combat soldier's mom and now I live life as a combat veteran's mom.
I resolve to help others who need to know they are not alone. I felt really alone in many ways until I did some research and found Family of a Vet. We know you are probably feeling isolated and alone, too. We understand. Whether you are a spouse, a parent, a sibling, even a friend, we understand what you are going through. Your loved one went to war and even though he or she came home, a part of him did not. Nor did he or she come home alone. With round the clock explosions and guns, your loved one could very well have a physical brain injury and/or PTSD, just as our loved ones do.
I resolve to work together with others who believe our veterans and their families deserve better understanding. Our veterans should not have to fight a war at home for their rights after serving in combat. Their families should not be made to feel like they are making excuses for someone who seems argumentative at times. If the veteran who comes home from war has changed that much from the soldier who believed in his country and loved his family enough to defend them, then we need to help others understand that they did give a lot to their country.
I was told by someone that he wished I had been his mom after he came home from Vietnam even though I am younger than he is. I took that as a compliment. The thing is, there are parents and spouses and veterans themselves who don't understand the new journey their lives are on. I myself have been told I need to back off because I am “just a mom”.
I won't. Our veterans deserve better. They fought in wars past and the current one for all of us to be able to live in freedom. Not every young man or woman has fought and that's their right. I even begged my younger son to take a different route in life because I was terrified he wouldn't come home or would come home different just as his brother did. We have the right not to go to war. We don't have a draft. But let's not forget the ones who made the free choice to go or the ones who were drafted in Vietnam who still live today. Let's be there for them.
If you are a family member, welcome to our Family of a Vet site. If you just came here out of curiosity or because a Google search brought you here, maybe it is a sign that you should be a combat buddy here at home for the ones who were there for us in very real war zones.
That's my resolution, to be there for my son and other veterans and their families. What's yours?
Submitted By: Monica Newton
Submitted By: Monica Newton