Note: Cross-posted at Daily Kos.
My wife’s cousin, I’ll call her “Mary”, followed her father into the military. She did a couple of tours in Iraq then came home to help out with the family tomato farm in southern Indiana. Her father had developed a condition similar to but worse than Parkinson’s Disease and was no longer able to run the farm. Since Mary had gone to college to be a farmer, this was where she was meant to be.
Then she got the call. She was being called up from the reserves to do yet another tour. Her mother had recently had a terrible fall that injured her ankle and limited her mobility. Her father needed to be assisted in everything that he did including showering, eating, and using the toilet. So Mary put in for a hardship discharge so that she could continue to help her parents and keep the farm going.
She was denied.
While she was in Iraq this time around, I made sure to send her emails and even a CARE package because I wanted to let her know that I still thought about her a lot and cared about her more. It was pretty much all I could do.
When she came home, Mary was angry. She attended funerals of more than one of her war friends, dead from suicide. She spent time with other military veterans because, in her words, they were the only ones who understood what she had gone through and what she was going through.
I once made a comment to her that we weren’t at war WITH Iraq, we were in war IN Iraq and that we weren’t really at war, by definition, since there was no specific enemy. This was a huge mistake and she lashed out at me sharply. “You don’t think it’s war?” she flared. “You don’t know anything. You don’t understand. Nobody understands.”
Mary is living in a cabin in northern Montana now. She’s getting treatment for PTSD and the trauma she went through, but, as you might imagine, her family is terribly worried about her.
It’s for Mary that I volunteer for Netroots for the Troops. I may never understand what these brave men and women have gone through and are going through but I can surely help a few of them know that I am thinking about them and care about them and want to understand.
Last year, in addition to raising nearly $1,500 at Eclectablog for the effort, I was the Chief
Cat Pootie Herder for Netroots for the Nation, organizing the volunteers that assembled the boxes.Here’s a video I shot during the assembly:
As I wrote in my recap diary last year, “It takes 364 days and 23 and half hours to get ready for this event and 33 minutes to make it happen.” You can be part of that 364 day, 23 and half hour effort that culminates in that 33 minute session of organized chaos as we assemble the CARE package.
Please consider making a donation, no matter how small. Because pooties and woozles, as you well know, need to be kept busy. If we don’t keep them busy, they get into trouble.