What if the person or entity for whom you put yourself in danger, for whom you risked everything, who asked you to possibly give your life, rejected you? What if that is how you were thanked? What if that was your reward?
Countless U.S. Army soldiers are fearing those very things right now….soldiers who have gone to war, have risked their lives in firefights and covert operations, and have returned from combat broken and changed. They ask themselves if their evaluation reports are good enough. They ask themselves what else they could have done to make themselves “worthy” of not being cut. They even ask themselves if serving in the military is worth it anymore.
Our combat veterans who have honorably served and who have nothing derogatory on their records are outraged and more than frustrated. They have given their all, they have done what their government asked them to do, and they have counted on the Army having their backs. Now, they have to worry about possibly not having a way to care for their families.
This heart-break and anger is not something that is relegated only to soldiers. Those emotions also rage strongly in their families as well. They are emotions with which I often struggle. After all, we spouses are the ones who wait anxiously at home during war; we are the ones who pray every day that our loved ones return; we are the ones who realize most keenly just how much our husbands have changed; we are the ones who are sometimes on the receiving end of their brokenness; and by this, we too are changed. To think that my husband could be cut simply because the Army wants to “save money” outrages me. It’s a numbers game to whomever is pontificating this ordeal. War is not without its consequences; but unfortunately, those making life-altering decisions aren’t the ones dealing with the day-to-day consequences. They aren’t the ones who are seeing the emotional numbness. They aren’t the ones walking on eggshells. They aren’t the ones who have to fight the system in order to receive proper care.
The psychological impact on soldiers being cut will be huge. It scares me to think of being dumped into the civilian world before we choose. It angers me to think about that possibly being Mark’s reward for all he has given. It frustrates me that we have both changed because of what the Army asked Mark to do – but that in the end he could be kicked to the curb. In addition, I have these same fears for his brother, who faces the exact same things.
However, the Army doesn’t care about these very real emotions. They will do what they will….and so we wait. We will do what we can to prepare for the worst and to accept whatever is dished out to us. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that what our veterans have sacrificed was not truly acknowledged and appreciated by those who are now gambling with their livelihood.