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A War Weary America

war-wearyI try very hard to balance both sides, to understand this war from the perspective of those outside of it while not imposing my views and experience as one who is directly affected by it. I think, as a military spouse, it’s vital and necessary to share our experience with those outside of our community, to tell the stories and share the journey. It’s equally important to understand the perspective of those who have little to no connection to the military community. How our world is presented by the media is rarely accurate. We become so frustrated that people don’t understand that we are still at war in Afghanistan, that units are actively deploying but when you watch the news, again and again we hear that the war is over. That our troops are coming home. And if you aren’t in our community, if you aren’t living our life, it is very difficult to see any other reality than the one presented.

I get that.

I really do.

But even with that understanding, even trying with everything in me to see that perspective, for the LIFE of me I cannot understand how this nation is “war weary”. And I mean that in how often it has been said by the media in the last several days, that “Americans are war weary”.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the over-use and frankly, ridiculousness of that statement. I get that the money spent on defense and wars is outrageous. I get that it has an effect on so much else. I get that. But don’t use “war weary”.

The men and women on their third, fourth, fifth tour of duty… heck! Six, seventh, eighth… they (if anyone) are “war weary”. Their families are tired.

There has been no draft. For thirteen years, our nation has been at war using a volunteer force. For thirteen years children have watched their mothers and fathers leave them to board a plane for a year at a time – sometimes longer, sometimes less. For thirteen years, parents, siblings, sons and daughters have missed first steps, first words, graduations, births, deaths. For thirteen years our military has barely been home while home. They have trained. They have fought. They have buried the dead. They have carried the lifeless bodies of their friends. They have shouldered the burden. They have done everything asked.

They have re-signed, re-pledged, re-joined. They have committed to this fight. My husband carried the body of a lifeless toddler out of a home in Baghdad ten years ago – a child that had been brutally and mercilessly murdered and then left to rot by those who hate everything that doesn’t fall in line with their belief. HE remained in the fight. HE lives with that image. HE will take the oath again next month and I will stand beside him as he does.

I have watched my child scream for his father as I drove him away to the airport. I have held my breath when news broke and have crashed to the ground when the black car didn’t stop in my driveway. I have sobbed in the shower until the tears were no more and the water had turned cold. I have thanked God for boots on American soil and mourned at the empty boots and helmets left.

I have mailed care packages while dozens of impatient “war weary Americans” tapped their feet behind me at the post office. I have remained silent while “war weary Americans” asked me if I was scared of my husband. I have held my tongue and politely explained every time a “war weary American” told me the war was over.

How can Americans be “war weary” when it seems like hardly anyone knows we are still at war?

Our troops are tired but this is their job, duty and commitment. Our families are tired but this is our love, life and community.

I don’t know what the right answer is. What the right step is. What the right move is. But I hold my breath every time another news anchor or reporter says “Americans are war weary”. I cringe every time there is debate about whether or not America is ready for another one. It rattles my brain to think of “America at war” as I try to count every time an American said with absolute shock, “we’re still over there??” while my husband was deployed. Our military has been at war, it still is.

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27 thoughts on “A War Weary America”

  1. Way to go! I'm a 30 year veteran and you summed up my feelings better than I could. Americans have no idea what sacrifices have been made not only by the Troops but also the families. Less than 1% have bore the burden of our Nation. In 2007 a Soldier summed it up,when he said " the army is at war, America is at the mall"

  2. Most Americans have the attention span of a gnat and cannot commit to anything for more than a few months at a time. Thank goodness we still have our wonderful military families. No one appreciates them nearly enough.

  3. Thank you for a brilliant observation about a tired trope that has no real meaning to those who use it. As stated effectively in your piece, most Americans have no business claiming to be “war weary.”

  4. Mrs. Williams, many of "We War Weary Americans" care as much about our country as YOU do! It is not a requirement to be a soldier, or a soldier's spouse in order to have an opinion or concern about this country and it's constant wars, as it being War Weary is being unpatriotic. I'll have you know what MANY Americans are War Weary because the give a damn about our country! They realize what constant war is doing to our country. They also care deeply about our military and their families, and especially the soldier's children! The photo and quote accompanying the article is eerily at odds with the article. You were so hell bent on criticizing war weary Americans and elevating yourself above them that you failed to mention the victims of war. You only mention a victim of criminals. Some of us war weary Americans have the common sense to know that it makes no sense to bomb the shit out of a country in order to try to kill the bad men who murder innocent people, while totally ignoring the innocent people that die when the bombs rip them to shreds without discrimination as to age, gender, guilt, or innocence! Many of Us War Weary Americans also get emotional when we see the reports and photos of the slain soldiers on the news. I have shed tears over total strangers for their loss and the pain that I knew their families and children were suffering. I don't need a self righteous soldier's spouse to preach to me about War Weariness as if they are the only ones entitled to an opinion on war or a patent on caring. Many of us War Weary Americans love our country just as damn much as you do! Your article was very self centered and offensive to those with enough common sense and understanding that being War Weary is in no way the same as being unpatriotic. It's apparent you have issues, thinking the customers in line at the post office have something against you because you are sending a bunch of APO packages. The problem is the chip on your shoulder. Us War Weary Americans DO CARE! We Care about YOU, your soldier spouse, and especially your children! But we also care about our country. We care about the tragedy of war. We are sickened by our government funding and sending weapons to groups, and then sending our soldiers to die fighting those same groups. Us War Weary Americans are for JUST wars, not MANUFACTURES wars for political or corporate gain. We strongly believe in the defense of our country, and most of us would defend it with our lives. I know I would with no hesitation. Even though I am unabashedly Wear Weary and find your article extremely offensive and narrow minded, and quite self centered! Many of us that are engaged and care about our country do indeed know that we are still at war and have troops still fighting. If you have a problem with misinformation by the media, you should take that up with them as quite insulting good, patriotic, loving Americans. Being a Military spouse doesn't make you MORE AMERICAN!

    1. If her husband has deployed multiple times she’s earned the right to have a chip on her shoulder. Let her vent and stop being so sensitive. While you are likely a great American you will never fully understand where she’s coming from or what she’s been through.

  5. The fact that you find this posting to be self righteous is the most ridiculous thing I have read on FB in a long time. She is not being self righteous. Unless you are one of the less than 1% of Americans who serve in our military (or their family member), you have no idea!

  6. I can see that you are informed, care about your country, and feel strongly about our being at war for so long. I think the key word here, though, is weary. Passion, concern, frustration, and sympathy are not the same as weariness. War puts a strain on soldiers and their families that's difficult to understand unless you've experienced it. And frankly, very few Americans (1%) have had to experience it personally. Very few are literally weary.

  7. That was well put from start to finish. For those who are at war, whether it is the warrior or the spouse or the child, many of us stand behind you , pray for you ,respect and honor you

  8. I am at the point I hate the news. It's like seeing a horrific accident and staring to see if there are any survivors. Our gov't desperately needs to beef up our military. As a military wife I strongly support single deployment, for the sake of mental health. You are to be congratulated for expressing your view so well. God bless our troops and America.

  9. You would defend this nation with your life with no hesitation but….what? Have you enlisted in the past two days? Or are you just spouting off your self-righteous indignation on the internet because that's all you'll ever be willing to do for this country?

  10. Wow, what a knee-jerk rant! Should have thought about that for a couple days before you clicked "send". VERY offensive. Sheila put it perfectly. You can have a passionate opinion…and so can Megan. She said people don't understand. I don't see where she called names. You, however, got personally nasty.

  11. Your ignorance is noted…you are part of the problem. How do I know? Because…it's obvious to this veteran that you don't have what it takes to back your words nor anything else you've said. YOU are the problem.

  12. So well said. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    There is a National Guard Armory here where I live, and we see the guys off when they deploy-again. I've spoken with men that have kids 5 and 6 years old.. and have been home for Christmas with them only once or twice in those years. They don't state that as a complaint, merely a statement of fact.
    We're stretched so thin military-wise, we get concerned "about the numbers" but we don't remember the people that make up those numbers, the ones that are pulling the weight both here and abroad. Thank you for this reminder. God's grace be with you all.

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