This article over at Huffington Post pissed a lot of people off last night. I’ll refrain from commenting about expecting reasonable discourse or accurate information from HuffPo. But you’ll notice they changed the original headline, “After Decade of Lavish Benefits, Military Personnel Fear Cuts” to “Defense Budgets Faces Cuts to Personnel After Decade of War,” after having their comments section flooded with corrections.
I’m not going to add to the chorus. Instead I want to tell you a true story.
A while back, a Twitter friend of mine contacted me and asked if she could send SoldierMan a care package. She said she wanted to do something physical to support the troops, and she thought of sending a care package, and I was the first person she could think of with a deployed soldier. I told her that I had him pretty well covered, but if she was interested I could get the names of some soldiers in his unit who are hurting for mail from home. She agreed to wait.
I had SoldierMan send me a few names of soldiers who hadn’t gotten much mail since they deployed and sent her one. (And before anyone jumps on me about OPSEC, let me say I would absolutely not have done this for someone I didn’t feel was trustworthy.) Last night, during the HuffPo hullaballoo, she messaged me and said the soldier she sent the package to emailed her and said thanks, and said, “It’s nice to know we haven’t been forgotten.”
She was so excited she got her entire office to go in on the next care package.
I’m telling you this story because it confirms what I’ve felt for a long time – lots of people support the military in their hearts and minds, lots more than we realize, I think. The problem is that, when less than 1% of the country actively serves in the military, that means a whole lot of people have zero personal connections to servicemembers. So while many people would like to help, they honestly don’t know how to go about doing it.
I wasn’t on twitter asking people to send care packages. This person contacted me out of the blue. I mean, I knew her, but her request came out of the blue. She was unusually proactive.
A few weeks ago, an army wife in my Sunday School class asked the class to “sponsor” her husband’s unit and donate for care packages. It’s not a “military”-aimed class, most of the people in the class are just locals with no relations in the military. But the whole class jumped at the chance and bring stuff every week to send downrange.
My point is, these people are out there. There are the ignorant loudmouths, but there are kind, concerned people, too. Try not to get fixated on the jerks.