Military Families Deserve Special Treatment

Politics & Views 95

Child saluting American flagFor all the amazing companies, businesses, and organizations that support military families, there are plenty similar entities, people even, who do not. And sadly, I'm not surprised.

Take, for example, Penelope Trunk's recent post entitled "Veteran's Day Should Be Cancelled" -- a post I unfortunately learned about from fellow mom blogger and The Stir blogger Julie Marsh, herself a former Air Force Officer who wrote a spot-on rebuttal.

I won't detail Trunk's ridiculous arguments for why she thinks the recent holiday should be canceled, but suffice it to say that she's speaking out of her ass. Because until you've seen first hand how military service affects the personnel themselves and their families, you just have no idea.

Since moving to Atlanta a few years ago, I quickly learned that this is not a military-friendly town. That doesn't mean people aren't appreciative of the service that our military (including my husband) provide for this country. But considering there's only a Reserve base in the Atlanta metro area, few civilians are exposed to full-time military personnel. And because of that, I think they don't have a full understanding of what military service involves, especially for the families who often need the most support from their community.

Take the fact that most places of business around town that do offer a military discount only give it to the active family member. I suppose it's nice to get a couple of dollars off my husband's ticket when we go to the Georgia Aquarium, but what happens when he's away? Aren't we serving too?

I realize that's a small complaint, but here are a few experiences that have really bothered me:

1. When we first moved here, we decided to register our daughter, then 3, for preschool. We paid a hefty deposit about four months prior to the school year starting, and then learned that my husband was being activated for C-130 training in Little Rock, Arkansas. Pregnant with our third at the time, I decided that it would be best for our family to temporarily move there. In most military-savvy areas, personnel with active orders can provide such documentation to a school and gain at least a partial refund, if not a full one -- especially given that the school year was still a couple of months away and they could have easily filled the spot; it was hardly an inconvenience. On the contrary, the school refused -- keeping almost $500 of our money.

2. During my husband's 45-day deployment to Afghanistan, my daughter attended a full-day kindergarten program. Her school and teacher were aware that one of their students had a father in a combat zone, but only after my suggestion did they even think to have the class send him cards. I can't think of a better opportunity for the students to learn about everything from military service to writing a letter! And, instead of the school sending them, the teacher sent my daughter home with 15 cards for me to send myself. Unfortunately, he never got them because by the time she sent them home, he had already returned.

3. I learned that a local, family-run Christian bagel shop that I personally frequented quite often refused to offer a military discount to customers, even when one of their full-time employees' husband was deployed to Iraq. "What do they do?" an owner was overheard asking her when she mentioned that along with giving police officers a 50 percent discount on food, they should consider giving military folks a small discount to show appreciation.

None of these experiences are anywhere close to discrimination, but they certainly show a level of ignorance. I do believe that military enlisted and officers as well as their family should get special treatment. Regardless of whether they were deployed or not, their service keeps this country safe. Just because there isn't an active base around and we don't see officers day in and day out in their uniforms doesn't mean that we shouldn't be appreciative and supportive of the military. And it certainly doesn't mean we should cancel a holiday because it somehow has no meaning to us.

Here's a wild idea: If the holiday doesn't have a meaning to you or you think that it has lost its true meaning, then make it have one and find out what that meaning really was. Maybe you'll not only learn something, but you'll help someone -- some mom, some family, some kids -- out in the process.

What are your thoughts about the support of the military in this country? And if you are a military family, what have your experiences been?


Photo via respres/Flickr


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AngiDas AngiDas

Military spouse here. Those who serve and those families who are back home dealing with it all are sacrificing so much to protect the country and it's citizens. Damn skippy they should be given some perks,cause there really are not there are not as many as people think. Yes, I am grateful for the things it has given us,but it can put a massive strain in different areas of your life. The divorce rate in the military in 80%. You can imagine why.

Kimberly Virga

I come from a military family and my best friend lost his life in Iraq in 2005. I never paid much attention to the military before losing him; you never think the bad thing is going to happen to you, but that was the most devestating experience of my life. The local town and townspeople and businesses should certainly be aware of the military and family members, whether or not there is a base close by or whatever. There is an active war going on, with our family and friends being deployed regularly. It's not much to just extend some gratitude by sending cards or giving out discounts, seriously. And people say things like, "What do they do over there anyway?" because they are ignorant and overrun by liberal ideals. Seriously, we deserve more respect than that.

Devil... DevilInPigtails

AF spouse here.  There are lots of discounts and I am more willing to frequent those stores, it is like my 4th cousin to my huge military family, so of course.  But military families should be able to get out of a contract and receive their full deposit back with orders.  It isn't our fault, our lives change at the will of commanders who may or may not be able to care to look at the situation the family or personnel are in.  And there are enough everyday challenges to deal with, without having to deal with a greedy and unyielding business.  And really I don't know many families that even ask for help or special treatment, so when we do, please listen we are probably drowning.    

meatb... meatball77

 


You've got an entitlement problem.


 


None of the things you complained about (except possibly the preschool deposit, but I'm sure it stated that it was non-refundable) are real issues or are signs of people not supporting the military.  Being outraged because someone won't give you a discount?  That's absurd.  Military discounts are nice but a business isn't unsupportive of the military because they don't give one, those people have to feed their families and pay their employees.  Being outraged that your daughters teacher didn't drop everything to have the students write letters to your husband who was only gone 45 days and then having the nerve to be upset that she didn't spend her own money (or her small school budget) to send the letters is also absurd.


 


As a military wife I see real problems that military spouses face and your complaints trivialize the real issues that military spouses face.  Things like the difficulty of finding employment and employment discrimination, difficult school transitions with uncooperative school staff, finding childcare so one can go to a Dr's appointment when a spouse is deployed, spending Thanksgiving or Christmas alone and even trying to figure out lawn care are issues that military spouses have and could use help with.  Not getting a ten percent discount on your bagel isn't one of them.


 


 

Lori Appel

DevilInPigtails, as an AF veteran, I remember if we had orders that we were going to be gone for more than 90 days, we could be exempt from a renting lease.  You may want to check with the military housing office to get the official paperwork to give to your landlord.  And even better, if they try to fight it, you have free legal service to help "show them the way" :)  On a side note, I read the disgusting post by that moron Penelope and was outraged.  Julies' rebuttal was priceless!

Scout... ScoutsHonorHMR

I was blessed when we were in the military to always be on a military friendly post.  I never even thought how hard it would be to be a remote reserve unit.  Yes, the costs in money and emotional to the families were amazingly large.  I cannot believe the comment you have encountered.  Wow!  All I can say, is thank you to your husband and all my military friends and fellow soldier for serving.  I salute you and thank you for keeping my family safe.

Scout... ScoutsHonorHMR

Oh, and somehow I missed Penelope's rotten post.  Thanks for the reminder to go UNSUBSCRIBE to her feed.  Grrrrr!!!

nonmember avatar Kristen Chase

meatball77 - If you think my post is about being pissed off that I don't get a 10% discount at a bagel shop, then you completely missed the point.

And "only 45 days" - yeah, thanks for your support, fellow MILITARY WIFE.

nonmember avatar Issa

I think that any place that gives a police discount, is being absurd to not give a military one as well. That makes no sense. Our troops protect us, more than we will ever know.

I am with you. On all of it.

nonmember avatar Holly

I'm the daughter of a career Army father and I kind of find this post annoying. Yes, there are hardships being a military family but there are hardships with lots of jobs. So military people should get discounts for their service. Okay. And police too then. And firefighters. Why not nurses and teachers and social workers? It just gets to be a bit ridiculous.

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