When I was younger, I used to be solely of the opinion “Support the troops: Send them home!” And while that makes for a great bumper sticker, and a world without war would be wonderful, the complex realities are quite different.
Whether we like the war or not, war is happening. We have brave men and women willing to fight in it for their own reasons. I’m not that courageous nor that selfless. It makes me angry that so many of our young people are being sent to be hurt or killed for what I consider an unwinnable cause. But I don’t think any of this means we should support our troops any less.
I also know that some troops get inadequate supplies in basic needs.
Did you know, for example, some female soldiers have difficulty getting access to feminine hygiene products? This is to say nothing of the comforts of home — getting cards, a favorite snack, pleasure reading. Even those who aren’t in combat are away from their families and homes, and that’s got to get lonely.
Maybe my opinion simply changed with age. Maybe the change happened when I started working with veterans, both as clients and as co-workers. Maybe it’s a little of both. But I decided that even though I don’t agree with the war, I think every person deserves a little support, especially when they’re in such alien conditions.
I adopted my soldier out of a desire to provide some brightness in what might otherwise be an isolated situation. I write letters every week, and I plan on sending a few care packages as well, as my budget permits.
I don’t ever talk politics with my soldier, nor do I discuss my opinions on the war. I simply tell him, truthfully, that I hope he’s well.