The Other Casualties of War
Relationships. Families. Those are the casualties of war that you don't see in the news everyday.
USA Today had an insightful, emotional article today - Troops' Families Feel Weight of War.
It profiles several different families as they struggle to reintegrate after not just one, but several deployments.
NFI and Lockheed Martin's 2009 Military Fatherhood Awardee, QMC John Lehnen of the U.S. Navy, said something so telling at this year's award ceremony
: The hardest part...when you're gone...your family grows without you...you come home to strangers.
That's exactly what this article is saying. One of the military fathers profiled is having a hard time reconnecting to his teenage son, and his son is acting out:
Scott, at 15, says his dad still seems to treat him like the 12-year-old he was before the last combat tour.
He says he loves his father and is proud of his military service but feels distant from him and often finds it easier to just leave the house and go skateboarding...
One a recent Sunday, before his father left on a trip, Scott suddenly threw his arms around his dad and hugged. "I didn't know what to do," Mark says. Father and son had shed that kind of physical affection one or two combat tours ago. "I lost that connection," Mark concedes.
Military families sacrifice so much for our freedom, both on and off the combat field. After the war in Iraq started, NFI developed a suite of resources specifically for military dads, to make sure they are able to reconnect with their kids. And the response we've had to these resources is overwhelming - the Deployed Fathers and Families Guide
is being used by ten of thousands of families in all branches of our armed forces. You can learn more at www.fatherhood.org/military
There is hope; these families show an amazing resillience and commitment to making it work. And, if these families can make it work, almost anyone can.