There is a war on

Radio and television ads for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have cost more than half a billion dollars, according to NBC News, and they ought to know. This amount is more than the advertising costs for the entire 2008 campaign — and we have months to go on this one.

Military members and their families living overseas will be spared the questionable results of this pricey promotional binge, because they don’t get many American commercials. They’re the lucky ones, and they won’t be missing much.

PTSD in the family

When I first started writing Spouse Calls in 2007, I heard from spouses of troops with post-traumatic stress disorder that they were routinely left out of the loop of a loved one’s mental health treatment.

As more becomes known about the impact of combat stress on military families, as well as military members, research is showing that families should be part of the treatment equation.

Tough chapters in verse

It’s hard to explain how deployment separations feel to military families. There is loneliness balanced with the kinship that grows between those who serve together on the front and the homefront. There is fear balanced with the courage and confidence earned through endurance. Then, of course, there is the pride both troops and their families take in their sacrifice and service.

Words can describe an event without necessarily conveying the emotion. Sometimes, though, words can be arranged and presented in a way that does offer a better understanding of how the experience feels from the inside.

Madison writes ...

A letter from a father to a Stripes editor:

I have spent almost four years in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2007.  First as a soldier and then as a civilian. I have left home many times. My daughter Madison had to write a poem for a school assignment... She let me see it and as you can imagine it brought a tear. I remember reading Stars and Stripes while in theater so I thought I would pass it along to you.
Dale Jarvie
Great this happened again!

Under the sea ... or over it

Claustrophobia was closing in. All I could hear was my own labored breathing. I wanted to escape but was too afraid to move. I pushed down the rising panic and looked at the people around me. If they could survive this, so could I.

It was not a hostage situation, just a class in recreational diving.