Last week our two presidential candidates, Obama and Romney, had a public pissing contest. Sorry, to be so crude but I raised boys and it was like being in a room with teenage males again.
The sparring was immediate and totally out of context for the ‘community forum’ where the questions were raised.
The rudest thing in my mind was the way new questions (and the people who asked them) were dismissed as the candidates had to have the last word on the previous conversation. It’s the same feeling that you get when you meet someone and they are looking over your shoulder to see who they ‘should’ be visiting with (instead of you).
I despise election years. I hate the advertising, the non-stop nasty and especially the wasted money. The Democratic and Republican parties will have spent over $2 BILLION by election day.
One more round to go where these childish boys get to spar, point fingers, yell, abuse and embarrass each other all while wearing the red, white and blue.
In the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November. That’s less than a week away.
Growing up, it was always a favorite time for me because of all the food (turkey is my favorite), my mom made pies (this was a ‘holiday-only’ treat), lots of family gathered and there was a festive feeling in the air. When the meal was over, the table was cleared and the poker games began. The laughter, yelling and cigarette smoke are in my memory cells.
Moving away from that scene was hard on me. I adored the large gathering of people and I missed that aspect because my clan numbered 4 instead of 24. It never felt right cooking a big turkey (yes, my favorite) for 4.
Over the years my clan has dwindled and I’ve been warmly invited into a new brood – one with lots of noise, people and hugs. And guess what I miss? Cooking that big turkey (uh huh, my favorite). I want to have my own celebration – with friends coming by and bringing food. I want to have the noise and festive atmosphere – right here.
So, if you’re around with no place to go – make a pie and bring it by.
Do these songs resonate with you? Did you have any favorites?
The one song I never remember singing was the national anthem — there was no connection to me, my world and those words.
The other songs … they painted pictures of scenes I could relate to .. but not the Star Spangled Banner.
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming…
Those are words and ideas and phrases that have no emotional meaning to me as a child nor as an adult. Sorry.
Perhaps it’s time to pick a new anthem? Something that we can embrace, understand and sing at the top of our lungs!
Instead, Every Day the American public should express thanks to our veterans and soldiers. If we were more caring and appreciative on a daily basis instead of squeezing our thanks in between a cold beer and a softball game, NASCAR race or Bolder Boulder on our day off, then perhaps veterans would be more honest with us about their experience and the stress they are dealing with each day.
What is it that is capturing their souls and leading our soldiers to commit suicide in record numbers? In the past five years the suicide rate among soldiers was the highest since 1980 when they were first recorded.
Military suicides make up 20% of all suicides in the US. And for every death, five members of the armed forces tried to take their lives and were hospitalized instead.
The government is trying to stem this human exodus and is deploying mental health experts to work with the returning soldiers and their families. In the beginning, when a soldier was deployed, he or she had the support of family back home. However, as the deployments were extended and increased, the support back home began to have their own mental health issues.
For the families left behind dealing with their own anxieties, running the household, making ends meet, parenting their children, holding down a job and fearing for the safety of their loved one, they may not have the strength to offer the support and hope to their spouse that they once had. They may be seeking mental health help for themselves, taking meds and antidepressants and trying to get support for their children.
In addition to being away from home, fighting a war that doesn’t end, with no actual date of return … these soldiers are learning about the stress they’ve put their family under. So to help out, they share less. They communicate less. They take the burden off the family back home as a way to protect them and hold it all inside.
And when they return home – they are wounded. Some are wounded on the outside, others on the inside and many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This disorder is commonly found in people who have lived through a traumatic event that caused them fear, stress and a sense of helplessness. They live in a cycle of despair. And for those who are killed in action? What sort of grief counseling is available? Their biggest fears have unfolded and besides their family circle, they are alone.
In Canada, according to my blogging friend Rebekah, there is a stretch of highway from Trenton, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario called the Highway of Heroes.
This route is used to transport the bodies of soldiers and where citizens line the road to pay their last respects. This Highway of Heroes is a public statement that shouts ” Thank You” for all you’ve done.
It is a fitting tribute for the family and a good way for the community to join together to show support and appreciation.
I’d rather not have any more deployed soldiers, stressed out families, military suicides or war. Until that changes, let’s find the support for these families and not leave them in pain.
Growing up I remember sitting in front of the television, watching Fred Hilligues tell us about another offensive, another wave of soldiers who died in Viet Nam. In those days, we all watched the news. We all knew where our brothers and neighbors and cousins were deployed. We all prayed. We all believe in our government.
That gradually changed.
Our boys did not come home.
The government did not welcome them, receive them or recognize them.
We started counting the dead.
Parents stopped believing in their government and their children followed suit.
We stopped praying.
We understood the war was a political event and our dead were the price we paid.
Today, when a solider dies, they are called “Troops”. Six US troops died today. A troop is an elusive entity. In reality, six young men died today. The government had to find a way to make the public forget that the dead were our boys and girls.
Over 51,000 soldiers died in Viet Nam.
The causality count in Iraq since 2003 is more than 100,000.
I believe we must honor those who have died for our country AND I believe we must question why any more of our young are sent into battle.
There was a time when I was stuck like glue to my family, our events, to any and every crisis, to our religion and dramas.
By leaving the place of birth and making Colorado home (over 35 years), the place I think of as home has disappeared. Gone are the grandparents, parents and siblings. Some died and some moved away. Gone is the home where you could always find a place to sleep, food to eat and usually a cigarette burning.
Now, to visit the folks means a trip to the cemetery and an afternoon of weeding and planting new flowers.
When I return to the old haunting grounds, it’s usually a feeling of wanting to return home, to Colorado that sits with me.
The wide open spaces, blue skies, sunshine, mountain views and peaceful feelings remind me that I am home.