Monday, May 26, 2014

What does memorial day mean to you?

My husband is a Unites States Marine.  Most of you probably did not know that, and it isn't your fault.  He is legally not allowed to claim his title any longer, because he chose to forfeit his benefits for the good of himself, our marriage and our family due to an anxiety disorder accrued due to the Marines.  But for the sake of honoring his sacrifices while serving, I'm claiming it for him here.  

August 23, 2014 would have been his standard EAS date (the day his contract completed), but due to un-forseen circumstances, he developed an anxiety disorder from the things he experienced while serving, and was discharged early on April 21, 2012 with the understanding that he would relinquish the title of "Marine". 

It is the way of things that when a Marine "fails", that he is to be shamed by first being punished.  Reprimands, NJP's,  losing his "title" of marine eventually... even though he most definitely earned it...  "Once a Marine, always a marine" they say... but that is only true for those who don't fall through the cracks.  We are legally not allowed to claim his title for any sort of financial gain until 15-years have passed, and only then are we allowed to attempt to change his discharge from OTH (Other than honorable) to a better level.

I never agreed with this specific part of the paperwork.  If it had been up to me, we would have taken it to court martial and he would have received a proper discharge, instead of one intended to shame him.  He had a choice.  He chose to sign the papers to receive his discharge, due to the severity of his panic attacks at that time, combined with the forms of punishment he was sustaining, it truly was the best thing for him/us, and we came home to Indiana.

When someone hears "Marine", or even "military service" generally what comes to mind is something honorable.  Everyone's eyes get misty from memories, or gratitude for the sacrifices made. Mine do too I suppose, but when I cry during memorial services, or during days like today, it is for a different reason.

The United States Government stole from us.  It stole my husbands will, his spirit, his very life force from him.  Stole my faith in humanity, 4 children, countless sleepless nights... and my husband never deployed.  I cannot imagine how much more pain we might have sustained had he deployed...

We came home pregnant, broken, limping and bleeding (literally) across that state line.  We collapsed in our bed for over 3-weeks to sleep off all of the stress, anxiety, sleepless nights and pain.  I lost that baby 2 days after we crossed that state line.  The stress, disappointments, relief, love, pain, fatigue... it was just too much for my body to bear and I miscarried yet again.  God is holding him, just like he is holding all of our other babies, but when I take stock of what memorial day means to me... my mind goes over the pain, the anguish, the disappointments, the pride, the honor, frustrations...

I love our country.  I truly, without any doubt burst with pride & love for our people, for our country. I love our lives together now, as well as our lives then (minus the negative portions caused by a bad command). I thank God for getting us home from California to Indiana safely, for our son, for our family...

Those who have not served, who have never felt the pain of your husband/wife/son/daughter etc. being gone for long periods of time, can never comprehend the level of pain of never knowing if your loved one is coming home.  This pain is made especially more severe when you know your loved one is being unfairly treated, and you know the people involved personally, not just from a distance.

Although military service is something to be proud of, for us even just speaking of it and thinking back is a time of highly painful stressful memories.

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