I lucked out with military service. My Dad was in the Royal Air Force, my sister was in the US Army and then the Army Reserves, my uncles, my grandfathers, my brother-in-law, lots of military service in my extended family, but while I have thought about it a few times, that wasn’t the path I took.
I now live in a famously liberal community, Boulder Colorado, and to be candid, somehow people in my area are generally unsupportive of the military, probably seeing it as representative of the military industrial complex or something similar. The argument that the men and women who are in uniform are not the ones making large-scale strategic decisions about where to focus our forces, what our on-ground strategies are, the objectives of our efforts overseas, the allocation of US funds, etc, seems to fall on deaf ears.
Military folk who come to Colorado find a warm reception elsewhere, like Colorado Springs, home of the beautiful US Air Force Academy, but in Boulder? Not so much.
Still, I am quite appreciative of the people who put their lives on the line, who take years out of their own lives, to serve and help preserve our way of life and further our nation’s goals and efforts overseas. It’s tough, often unforgiving work, weeks of boredom punctuated with seconds of terror, death, injury, and worse.
And if you’re a father, you might get to be in touching videos about using Facetime or Skype video chats to stay in touch with your wife and children, but the reality is far more harsh, a reality that I believe is harder for the men of today to handle than our fathers did in the so-called Greatest Generation. Regardless, it’s darn hard to be a dad and not be with your children, and when there’s 6000 miles between you, it’s crazy hard to offer any sort of support at all.
And so I say: Thank you, guys. I dream of a world where we can all be at peace with each other, but in the meantime, we need you to try to keep some sort of balance in an increasingly confusing global political climate.
Some companies get it way more than others, and I have to give kudos to Unilever and their Dove Men+Care brand for their unwavering support of the troops. This time, for Father’s Day, they’ve introduced a pretty slick campaign called Mission Care and are flying servicemen home from overseas to spend Father’s Day with their families and children. Here’s a video: