The Deployment Diary

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Gay Marriage

This really isn't a topic that I have a strong position on. I can see both sides of the issue. On the one hand, I believe marriage should be protected and remain as is - a religious and legal institution between a man and woman. On the other hand, I can understand how gay couples would want certain legal rights when they build a life with their partner - not to mention the emotional aspect of being legally connected to the one you love.

And yes, I'm a Christian. So, I am part of one of the religious groups who vehemently oppose gay marriage. However, as a Christian, I feel my religion tells me that God judges people and their actions and we, as his followers, should not. I'm human though and I'm not always successful at not judging. I do try not to and when I catch myself, I stop - or at least try lol. I sometimes find it hard. For instance, when walking through the mall and seeing the fashion statements some folks are making and thinking, "ewww, how the heck did you look in the mirror and think DAMN I look GOOD!" wearing that contraption lol. Like I said, I'm human lol.

Do I agree with the gay lifestyle? No. As a heterosexual, I find it extremely hard to understand how a woman or a man can look at someone their same gender and be attracted to them, much less intimate. I would imagine homosexuals feel the same way about straight folks too though. My position is, what you do in your bedroom is your business. I don't want or need to know just like what goes on in my bedroom is not anyone else's business but mine and my husband's.

The point to all this is I just happened upon this extremely interesting blog entry about the gay marriage debate. I'm not even sure what blog I followed to get to this one. A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other is well worth the read, no matter what side of this issue you are on.

My only request is that people try to be a leeetle more humble about their ability to imagine the subtle results of big policy changes. The argument that gay marriage will not change the institution of marriage because you can't imagine it changing your personal reaction is pretty arrogant. It imagines, first of all, that your behavior is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society, when in fact, as you may have noticed, all sorts of different people react to all sorts of different things in all sorts of different ways, which is why we have to have elections and stuff. And second, the unwavering belief that the only reason that marriage, always and everywhere, is a male-female institution (I exclude rare ritual behaviors), is just some sort of bizarre historical coincidence, and that you know better, needs examining.


I'm interested in what you think about this article. Personally, I found the history she used as examples to be very thought provoking...

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

New Look

Last night I saw a link under the template section on blogger for "Pick New." I decided to go see what kind of templates they offered. Well, as you can see, I found one I liked lol.

Husband was going to take a nap this afternoon, so I thought it wouldn't take me but an hour to change the template and add new links.

Wrong lol.

I worked on it all afternoon and then started working on it again around 6:30 tonight. I just finished lol.

Anyhow, I hope this is a better look. I made a few small changes to the template, but nothing too drastic. I did add quite a few new links to the right. I think it's been over a year since I added anything new over there lol. When you have some time, go check out some of the sites. They are all sites I visit almost daily. Hopefully there will be something new in there that you haven't ran across before!

Oh - one last change. I did away with the other comments and went with blogger's. The old comments would drop off after so long and I'm hoping the blogger comments will stay indefinitely.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Causes You May Want to Support

I received an email from my friend with connections the other day with a cause I thought may interest others with loved ones in the military. Honestly, when I first read it, I thought it was most likely an urban legend lol. To my pleasant surprise, it's real :).

H.R. 887 - Supply Our Soldiers Act of 2005:
The Supply Our Soldiers Act of 2005 - Directs the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Secretary of Defense to provide a program under which postal benefits are made available for personal correspondence and other mail matter sent from within the United States by designated representatives (next-of-kin) to members of the Armed Forces who are: (1) serving on active duty abroad in support of military operations or against an enemy of the United States or other hostile force; or (2) hospitalized in a U.S. military facility as a result of disease or injury incurred during service overseas. Limits postal benefits to $150 per calendar quarter, and limits the size and weight of allowable parcels. Allows charitable organizations to apply for such benefits.


You can visit The National Association for Uniformed Services website to easily locate your elected officials by entering your zip code. This site provides information about legislation that concerns the military. Not only do they provide information about military legislation and an easy way to contact your elected officials about it, they also provide a Guide to the Media. With this guide, you can search for national and local media via your zip code. You can search for Editors, Reporters & Producers by entering the person's last name. Last, but certainly not least, you can search for media organizations (radio, TV and print) by searching the organization's name. A helpful (and time saving) site to say the very least! Definitely a site I'll be adding to the list of links on the right.

Be sure to pass this "cause" on and write your elected folks in Washington to let them know you support it! When our loved ones are deployed, we spend an awful lot of money sending packages not only to our own soldier, but most of us also mail packages loaded with goodies for their co-workers too. Like everyone else, the money spent was well worth it. Reducing some of the costs would be extremely helpful though - especially for our National Guard and Reserve families who may be struggling due to large decreases in pay when they are activated.

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Another cause that may interest you. If it does, let your elected officials know!

Extended Careers

Earlier this month, my husband and I were talking about our plans for the future. After his realization of how close he came to retiring and the amount of denial he was swimming in saying he was ready to retire lol - our "plans" are really just wishes lol. For instance, wishing we could possibly head south after he finishes his two years in this job and it's time for us to relocate. In reality, we know we'll most likely end up in a place we have no interest in going lol - like Fort Hood or Fort Drum. I'm sure these installations are places many people love and there are positives to both. However, by the time we leave here, due to the Army forcing folks out at a certain amount of years served based on rank, this next move will be our last move. And, just like we had planned that our current duty station would be "the retirement duty station," this next move will have to be - and we'd really like to go someplace we would be comfortable calling home for the rest of our lives.

This conversation evolved into the discussion on rank and the amount of years a soldier can serve before being forced to retire. Such as, a SFC (E-7) only being able to serve 24 years and a 1SG/MSG (E-8) can only serve 26 years.

sidenote: This site says a SFC/E-7 not on the promotion list can only serve 22 years. I thought that had changed a few years ago.

sidenote II: Maybe the above site just hasn't updated their info. This site (scroll down to Retention Control Points) says 24 years...

At any rate, while we talked about the years he had left in the Army he said, "Honestly, I'd stay in a lot longer if they'd let me. I dread the day I have to retire and can no longer do this job."

I dread the day he has to retire too. I just don't think he'll ever find anything he loves doing as much as he loves his job - and I worry that he'll be completely miserable being a civilian.

Of course, this conversation got me to thinking (I know, a dangerous concept lol). Why DO we force out our best and most experienced soldiers while they are still in the prime of their lives? It makes no sense and I imagine the justification is, "We do this because it's the way it's always been done."

So, I got on the computer and sent a letter to one of my Senators on the 5th of this month. I won't quote the entire thing, but here's a small portion:
As our nation faces problems with recruitment and retention, our valuable NCOs, the backbone of the Army, are being forced out. Fifty or more years ago, 45 years old may have been "too old" to continue to serve, but in this day and age, this is just not the case.

I respectfully ask that you look into the years of service our senior NCOs can serve.

[.....]

It is a shame that our nation, at a time of war, is forcing out our highly skilled and trained NCOs due to an out of date system.


Three days later, I received a reply from his office. The first paragraph pertained to my letter:
Dear Friend:

Thank you for your recent letter regarding retirement age of our men and women serving in the Armed Forces. You may be assured of my interest in this matter, and I appreciate your taking the time to express your views to me. Please be assured that I will give this issue my most careful consideration, keeping your particular comments in mind.

The three paragraphs following this one were your typical *form letter taking up space* paragraphs lol, so I'll spare you.

As if I was on to something here lol (even if my Senator's staff didn't particularly think so lol), about a week later I was making my daily news rounds, skimming the headlines on Military.com. To my surprise, I came across an article on this very subject! And the name of the person who happens to agree and would like to see the RCP (Retention Control Points) of an out of date system changed? Why, none other than Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld! I felt just a tad bit validated after reading the article lol!

Rumsfeld Supports Extended Careers
WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he would like to see sweeping changes to the military services' personnel systems.

In particular, Secretary Rumsfeld said, he would like to do away with the system that forces servicemembers out at the prime of their careers and moves people between jobs too quickly.


The system that moves people up then out when they are "at the peak of their capabilities" does the country "a big disservice," the secretary said.

Secretary Rumsfeld said he is frequently frustrated to see top-notch servicemembers, many just 38 or 40 years old, forced to leave the military -- taking with them extensive experience they could share with others.

"Why would we do that?" he said. "Why wouldn't we want that person around, and the confidence and knowledge and experience" the individual brings to the table?

Yet, despite widespread recognition of what such servicemembers are still capable of contributing, Secretary Rumsfeld said the personnel system "just keeps shoving them up and out."

This just does not make sense, particularly at a time when people "live longer and are healthier longer," Secretary Rumsfeld said.

Secretary Rumsfeld acknowledged that not everyone wants to extend their military careers, but he said those who do "should not be penalized or prevented from doing that."


Exactly Secretary Rumsfeld!! My husband will only be 43 when he's forced out and it's a shame that the Army will lose a great soldier due to an out of date and senseless policy. We are paying a high price for forcing out our most experienced soldiers - especially while our nation is at war.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Very Sad Week

When they are home - especially after returning from a year in combat where you are always emotionally guarded, it's so easy to allow yourself to be lulled into a sense of safety and well-being. The stark reality is, whether deployed or at home, being a soldier is a dangerous occupation.

As the time for them to head back over to Iraq approaches, training is increasing of course. This week the BN had companies in the field. Fortunately for me, husband's company was running chow, but not part of the field problem. I say fortunately because even though he'd be working late, at least he would be coming home every night where we could spend a little time together.

Earlier this week he called me in the afternoon, which is odd. He usually calls in the mornings and then towards the end of the day so I know if he'll be home by seven or will be working late. When his name popped up on my cell, I knew something was going on. I figured it was a typical problem - a meeting being rescheduled to late in the day and for me to not wait on him for supper.

When I answered the phone and heard his voice, I immediately knew it wasn't about a meeting. I've only heard his voice sound like that once before when he called home after his friends were killed and instantly I knew something awful happened.

He slowly explained what was going on and wanted to let me know that he wasn't sure what time he would be home, but it would be very late. There had been an accident and a soldier was killed. The sound of his voice - gosh, it just broke my heart. Before hanging up, he said, "Damn! The kid makes it through a year of dodging bullets and IEDs in Iraq only to be killed here at home...it's just a fucking shame."

Then, he said he had to go, but he'd call me later. And there I stood, over a year later, staring at the phone like the damn thing had just jumped up and attacked me. Feeling just as useless and worthless as I did that day in January when he called so upset about his friends - not knowing what to say or how to console him. The only thing I can do is listen and while I know that is important, my mind still says I should do more - somehow find some magical words to make it easier or something. Losing a young kid, even if it wasn't one of "his" kids, tore him up. I could hear it in his voice and when he finally did make it home that night, I could see it in his face.

Tragically, two young soldiers were lost in the accident and five others injured. According to press reports, the five injured will be ok and only suffered minor injuries thank goodness.

Please keep the families of these two young men in your prayers along with the injured soldiers. Also, if you could keep the soldiers who tried to save them in your prayers too, it would be greatly appreciated. They are having a really hard time too.

Cherish every moment you have with the people you love. Whether they are deployed or home, life is so fragile and so short...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yep, I'm a Southerner...

but I must be losing some of my heritage (nice word for twang lol) seeing as how I only scored 45% Dixie on a linguistic test I found through Sue's blog.



Your Linguistic Profile:



55% General American English

45% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

0% Yankee



What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

MIDlife Crisis

It's true. I think I've finally hit my midlife crisis...where I'm missing my youth that included muscle cars and a lead foot :).

So here she is...and damn I want one so bad lol:
Welcome back, Shelby.

Mother and Daddy had a '68. Damn thing would SCREAM. Even had a roll bar in it lol. This one has 450 horses under the hood (drool) and is the first real muscle car (in my opinion) made since the 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am.

BUT, come Friday I'm going to see a man about a truck for the husband. *Sniff, sniff* so no Shelby Cobra for me in 2006.

Enjoy the pics....

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hanoi Jane

She should have been TRIED and CONVICTED of TREASON. Instead she's out making money telling about her idiotic bedroom exploits.

I hope to one day soon see her in an airport or on a street. I will walk up to this TRAITOR and spit in her face. Regardless of what she says today, she has NEVER apologized for making radio broadcasts for the NVA and that IS giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Hell I'm surprised this scum of the earth isn't touring in the middle east appearing on Al Jazeera calling our troops today murderers. Rest assured that is what this whore thinks.

May she rot in hell for eternity for what she did. This is one Vietnam Veteran's daughter who will NEVER forget nor forgive.

Hanoi Jane rides again

See ya'll next week when I'm back online regularly...

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