** I don't like getting FWDS from people, but this one was worth it...I TOTALLY agree with the Military wife here!!***
"I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with long neck beers and sizzling platters.
Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride.
Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East . That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home.
I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him?
As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts. "I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq . You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good Lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election."
I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them as they began an endless tirade running down our president.
I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills.
Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts.
"It's all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Hmmm! I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought. It's pure greed, you know."
My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.
"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the president's popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-11. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."
Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one even appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is?
I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking.
"Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq , and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby-killers we call a military."
Professional baby-killers. I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again.
That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be known.
Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, smiling I said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him."
"Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it."
I must have been louder than I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right
"Yes, thank you," I replied.
Then, turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."
As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check and scurried away.
After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it.
When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys."
With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth.
"We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."
As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers.
I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day. Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military that protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain its freedom.
As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference.
Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"
To those who fought for our nation, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
Keep in mind my entire family has served in the military (mostly army, some navy) My father was in vietnam and 16 years in, my mother served ten years both my grandfathers served in WWII my father, and both grandfathers wounded in action. I applied but was turned down because I had spina bifida (at the time no one knew of my MD).
We live in a republic where everyone has rights. No one deserves or should get rights above another, nor should they get more consideration. Every citizen has a role in this country. Everyone makes it work. Each has a valid opinion.
I think we should respect those in dangerous jobs to protect all of us. The Armed Services, Police, Firemen and medical fields all risk their lives. But it is something they chose to do. This great country was founded on dissent (to differ in sentiment or opinion, esp. from the majority; withhold assent So while they may have been rude to have said what they said, it was the very thing that founded the USA in te first place. Complacency (a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.) breeds tyranny.
While I agree the military member DID sign up for this(beleive me I use that argument ALL the time...) but it's about respect. Of course that's what is taught while IN the military and some of it rubs off on family members, so I could see why the majority of the world doesn't understand that...
I don't think what those women were saying were fair. They are entitled to their opinion, but like the women in the letter said...its the men and women who CHOOSE to fight for our country that fight for the right for them to even have that chance to have an opinion, and they shouldn't "diss" the military for what they are doing over there. They are following instructions that are being given.
I'm VERY proud of my husband for what he does. Do I like war, no, but I will stand back here on the homefront and support what he does. He is fighting for us, for you, and for everyone else. Do you ask him too, not really, but like the saying says..."if you can't stand behind our troops then stand in front of them".
I disagree. No one has to respect anything anyone does. That is what makes this country great. I grew up in the military and most every member of my family has served if able. I personally respect every Government Issue out there. However, Those women "dissing" is why people serve. It is their right. Without that right anything any member that wears a uniform does is without cause.
BTW he isn't fighting for "me". I do not have to support the actions of the government. I am not a sheep.
"Be not intimidated...
nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties
by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency.
These, as they are often used, are but three different names
for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice."
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
"Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”
“It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
Edward Abbey quotes
“In the beginning of a change, the Patriot is a scarce man, Brave, Hated, and Scorned. When his cause succeeds however,the timid join him, For then it costs nothing to be a Patriot.”
“A politician will do anything to keep his job - even become a patriot”
“A patriot is he whose public conduct is regulated by one single motive, the love of his country; who, as an agent in parliament, has, for himself, neither hope nor fear, neither kindness nor resentment, but refers every thing to the common interest”
"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate"
Thomas Jefferson (Rights of British America, 1774)
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure."
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
"The laws... which must effect [a people's happiness] must flow from their own habits, their own feelings, and the resources of their own minds. No stranger to these could possibly propose regulations adapted to them. Every people have their own particular habits, ways of thinking, manners, etc., which have grown up with them from their infancy, are become a part of their nature, and to which the regulations which are to make them happy must be accommodated." --Thomas Jefferson to William Lee, 1817
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds”
Samuel Adams quotes (American patriot and Politician of the American Revolution. 1722-1803)