Friday, February 23, 2007

Long Iraq Tours Can Make Home a Trying Front

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/23/us/23military.html?hp

In the NYT today, Lizette Alvarez wrote about the problems that soldiers who return from Iraq face with their families and their surroundings.

"Most families and soldiers cope heorically. But these separations jabe also left a trail of badly strained or broken unions, many severed by adultery or sexual addictions; burdened spouses...; financial turmoil...; emotionally bruised children...; and anxious parents who at times turn on each other."

I don't know about you guys, but I've always had that very victorious, brave image of a soldier returning from war and just enjoying life to the fullest because of everything he's seen. But sometimes, the reality that waits for them at home is not so celebaratory. It's heartbreaking that these soldiers are dealing with whatever they are dealing with at war, and they are constantly missing their friends and family- and then when they come back, they get pats on the back, but there doesn't seem to be a break for them.

When the article described that Cpl. John Callahan's wife had had two affairs since he's been gone, didn't pay for the credit card bills, and sent their children to live with her parents (this was the very first sentence of the article), it really hit home that going to war doesn't just affect the soldiers, it really also changes the lives of their spouses. I mean, there's the expected loneliness and worry, but then comes the not-so-great consequences from those emotions, like turning to another man when the husband is off serving the country, or just disregarding the children they have.

I watched Flags of Our Fathers yesterday and I remember Adam Beach's character, Ira Hayes, telling another person that he didn't want to be sent home, that he was going to be staying at the war. They sent him back anyway, and he spiraled into depression and alcoholism.

I can't even begin to imagine, and even the worst scenarios I think up- I know that's just not giving these experiences of the soldiers justice.

"When Sergeant Gallagher came home for two weeks last year, he walked out of the room anytime anyone talked about Iraq." That quote really got to me.

Here's another article for reference, from the LAtimes. It's about military amputees from the point of view of his spouse: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-journal23feb23,0,7265596.story?coll=la-home-headlines

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