Setting The Record Straight On Military Wives

On Friday, May 11th, I was in Salt Lake City doing my radio program at Fort Douglas to honor Military Moms for Mother’s Day.  Just before the three-hour live broadcast, I was interviewed by Matthew D. LaPlante for the Salt Lake Tribune; ostensibly about Military Moms.  I don’t remember him asking me even one question about that.
     His article was published the next day with the headline, “Dr. Laura to G.I. wives: No Whining.”  Although this interview went over one-half hour, and I covered a wide range of subjects pertinent to military families and the war, he chose a comment, one that I’ve made before many times on the air, to make the primary focus of his article – and, he took it out of the entire context of my remarks.
     I am so deeply sad and disappointed that this out of context comment appears to have caused hurt and pain to military spouses – people that I’ve spent so much time helping.  I am frustrated that people who haven’t heard my program would be misled as to my attitude and intent.
     I am a military mom.  I whine to my husband every day about how scared I am for my son and how helpless I feel to protect his body and soul.  However, I never whine to my son when he is able to call between missions.
     That, and only that, is my point.  Of course military spouses endure fear and domestic burdens.  Of course they often need emotional support and practical assistance.  As I said to the reporter, and many times on my program, family services, clergy, family, friends, and the camaraderie of other military spouses are available outlets.  However, burdening one’s warrior spouse with your fears, upsets, loneliness, etc., is a huge mistake as it demoralizes the warrior and thereby undermines their concentration while they are in life-death situations.
     It is also true that when a soldier is in combat, his family must remember that anything they are going through needs to be perceived in the context of the fact that they are not dodging bullets and tip-toeing around IEDs.  I know that when I get upset about things in my life, I think about my son and what he is facing that he can’t walk away from, then I have a cup of coffee and go for a relaxing sail.  It puts me back into a less “poor me” perspective.  And that is what I have conveyed to millions of folks on my radio program.
     Warrior wives, as I refer to them, need to be independent, compassionate, mature, selfless, strong, competent, supportive and well-connected to family, friends, and church – because their men are in daily life-and-death situations and need the reassurance of their woman’s loyalty, love, and strength to survive.
     I have been a major cheerleader for all the members of military families.  That’s why I have raised over $500,000. for Operation Family Fund (which provides financial assistance to families of fallen or severely injured military) as well as trips such as this last one to Salt Lake City to support Military Moms before Mother’s Day.
     I have met Blue, Silver and Gold Star Moms.  It is humbling to see them all proud and mutually supportive, even when suffering.  I am inspired by family members who lovingly and patriotically sacrifice to support one of their own who volunteered for service to their country and families.  Military folks and their families are a breed apart as they live with the threat of death, for the promise of freedom for complete strangers.
     We should all be respectful and very grateful.