Okay. So, I’m late again. Been busy. We just got back from our nephew’s wedding in Portland, Oregon. I am now watching the movie Gettysburg, that I normally view over the three days of the battle, each year. I’m a few days late, but Tom Berringer, Jeff Daniels, and Martin Sheen waited patiently. This movie serves to remind us of the valor and sacrifice of the American soldier, on both sides. We can condemn the motives and the causes, but the courage of the soldiers cannot be denied.
Which brings me to this month’s topic. I am writing about a recent article in Stars and Stripes newspaper. Stars and Stripes is the independent newspaper available to all branches of the U.S. military throughout the world. I used to read it when I was serving. I remember several occasions when Glens Falls, NY was listed as having the nation’s low temperature during the winter. Glens Falls was ten miles from my hometown of Lake George.
This particular article was describing two studies that found that the families of servicemen were often living in the status of food insecurity, whether stationed stateside or overseas. The high cost of living and high spousal unemployment were two major factors in this situation. This, of course, was leading to a national security concern. Afterall, how focused can a serviceman (or woman) be when their family is going hungry?
I recall the situation being similar when I served in the late 1970’s. In Europe, the gasoline prices were so high that we were issued monthly books of coupons that we could redeem at many local gas stations for fuel. Then, as now, the frequent reassignments and movements of personnel, made it nearly impossible for spouses to find jobs to help support their families.
During the weekend, thinking about this newsletter and travelling through the Portland area and seeing the massive number of tents and tarps, I wondered if we oughtn’t spend a bit more time and effort taking care of our citizens and a bit less time being beastly to one another in the name of political factionalism. If we all were to focus on goals such as this and spent less time being contrary to those whose political loyalties differ from our own, we might make some progress that we could all take some pride from.
Just a thought.