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Many of you may have seen the recent article that has gone viral called, “After Decade of Lavish Benefits, Military Personnel Fear Cuts.” The title of the article was soon changed sometime after it went viral, but it did not mask the obvious unfamiliarity the author of the article has of military families, their benefits, and pay. If you are a military spouse, the very first paragraph is liable to make you upset. It says:
“For more than a decade, Congress and the Pentagon have lavished money on the nation’s 1.3 million active-duty troops and their families. Salaries and benefits soared far above civilian compensation, military bases and housing were refurbished, support services like day care, family counseling and on-base college courses were expanded.”
I won’t quote the entire article, but the author goes on to say that, “…between 2001 and 2009 the average enlisted military member was earning $50,747 in base pay and housing — not including other allowances and bonuses.” These two quotes alone are enough to make most of the military community very upset.
Because I am a military spouse I decided to post this article on Facebook. I was a little surprised at the response I was given because I posted the article and because I was upset that one-by-one we as military families are getting our benefits taken away. Most of the responses I received were military spouses who were also upset by this article, but through some of the messages I received I was told that I was not being grateful for what we do have. That I should be grateful for these benefits because they are better then what most civilians receive, and because my son would not be able to have therapy without it.
My response? I am grateful. I am very grateful for the benefits we have been given. My son is able to go to therapy for his Autism, up until recently my husband was able to go to school, and I am grateful for the little things like military leave and our current base housing. Yes, I am grateful, but that does not mean I am not upset. That does not mean that I am not upset that the benefits that my husband was told he would be given upon joining the military are now being taken away. That does not mean that I don’t have a right to stand up for something I believe is wrong.
Yes, my family has good insurance coverage, but did you know that I miscarried due to a medical malpractice at our base clinic? Yes, my son’s therapy is mostly paid for, but did you know that we can barely afford the gas money to get to those therapies? Did you know we have had to have help from outside sources to manage so that he CAN go to these therapies? Yes, I am a stay-at-home mom, but did you know that my family only makes roughly about 35,000-40,000 a year, and has to be on WIC?
While people may think that military families make more than civilians or that we have better benefits, how do you put a value on the sacrifices the military family makes? What about the ones who have died? The ones who are injured? The veterans? The ones with PTSD or TBI? What are their benefits? Is there no value in their sacrifices?
Believe it or not, I am so very grateful for our lives as a military family. It has taught me so much and has helped me grow. It has helped me make so many friends and helped me see into the lives of so many amazing people. But as a Christian, I do not believe it’s wrong to be upset over what is happening to our military. My heart hurts for our military families and for what they have given, and I only want to see right done by them. If you think that is ungrateful, then I am sorry, but I don’t agree.
- Read a letter written from a wounded warrior’s wife to the author of the article mentioned above… My Response to the “Article”