Survey of military families

The Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey gives a voice to military families, said Vivian Greentree, a Navy wife and the director of the research and policy department of BSF.

She pointed out that having a voice is especially important as federal budget cuts are considered. Family members who want to participate have until midnight on Monday to complete the survey.

Reality TV meets Army life

Yolanda Goins confesses she’s “not a television person.” That might change, now that she’s a television personality. Yolanda and six other military wives were chosen from hundreds of applicants to star in “Married to the Army: Alaska,” a reality television program now showing on the Oprah Winfrey Network and which premiers this Sunday on American Forces Network.

The cast members are all Army wives from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry, of which Yolanda’s husband is the commander. The show documents the women’s lives back at Fort Richardson, Alaska, while their husbands are deployed to Afghanistan.

Mum's not the word

The Washington Post reported this week that military spouses are mum on the subject of marital infidelity.

I beg to differ. It is true many of us withhold comment or judgment on specific families in respect for their privacy, and rightly so.

Truth and consequences

I was halfway through writing my next column about a new reality show starring military wives, when irony struck. I was approaching the story with a critical eye: Will this show reflect the truth of military life? Will some of the spouses turn diva when the cameras start rolling? Will their actions embarrass themselves, or possibly the rest of the military community?

Then I realized how ridiculous it was to ponder the potential for embarrassment in a few squabbles between military wives, deployment-time struggles with recalcitrant children and the natural conflict between couples. This week’s news about the behavior of generals makes spats between spouses look pretty tame.

Those who have "borne the battle"

Inside the temple that pays homage to Abraham Lincoln – in addition to the larger-than-life image of the man – are complete texts of his most famous speeches. I suppose he’s the only American politician deserving of a memorial large enough, and whose greatest orations were short enough for this to be possible.

Lincoln’s image is flanked by the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address. Both acknowledge the sacrifices of the U.S. military. One refers to the necessity of caring for families bereft by war.

Jersey Share

Veterans and military families in New Jersey affected by Hurricane Sandy are still  suffering from the effects of extreme weather in their region. Home Front Hearts, lead by military spouse Randi Cairns would like to help, and she could use some help from others as well.

Randi founded the non-profit organization to help New Jersey’s military families with all kinds of needs. She said she’s received several requests for assistance from military families in the region impacted by the hurricane and the winter storm system that followed.

Honoring those who serve

Though they’ve never met face to face, three military spouse writers have forged a real life friendship based on their fiction writing. To celebrate that bond and in honor of Veterans Day, they are giving away Kindle versions of their books on Sunday.

“We formed our triad because we realized that, if a reader liked one of the three novels, the reader would probably like the other two,” said Phyllis Zimbler Miller, one of the authors.  “Instead of being in competition with each other, we are collaborators with our novels portraying the military life.”

Suffering a lack of suffrage

“Denied.” I stared at the word on the page, not wanting to believe my eyes. My application to vote in my temporarily adopted home state has been denied. For the first time since I have been eligible to vote – when dinosaurs roamed the earth, according to my offspring – I cannot participate in the election for our nation’s highest office.

It’s hard to make this confession to the world, to my friends, to my two voting-age children, whom I’ve reminded multiple times, “Don’t forget to register to vote!” My election-year enthusiasm has been eclipsed by my administrative ineptitude.