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Need a “LifT?”

This year we will mark the tenth year of 9/11 and that means ten years as a nation at war. While President Bush prepared us for an elongated conflict I think few of us believed it would extend beyond that of the first Gulf War. Yet here we are.

Though we are a nation at war I am sometimes surprised by the gulf between the military and civilian communities. I recently spoke at a university forum on military and military families. At the opening of my remarks I asked how many in the audience and on the panel had a relative serving in the military. Not one hand was raised. I asked if their parents or grandparents served. Several hands raised signifying grandparents served in the military, but surprisingly none had conversations with them about their experiences.

Today’s military, which includes Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves, totals less than 1% of the total population. Isn’t that an amazing figure? Less than 1% is entrusted with the security and defense of 99%. Let’s contrast this figure with previous conflicts. It is estimated that 18% of the population served in the Civil War. World Wars I & II saw 14% of the population serving. In Vietnam 11% of the population served. In prior conflicts every community across the nation was impacted by the service of its young men and women. Not so today.

So how do we connect our two communities? How can the defenders connect with the defended? How can the defended enter the small, often confusing community of its defenders? One military spouse has a big, but creative, and this writer believes an effective idea to foster that connection.

Military spouse and author, Kris Tsetsi is on a mission – to see today’s military spouse named Time Magazine’s next Person of the Year. Time’s website states the Person of the Year is not an honor In fact, their definition of the designation includes: “The person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse.”

Kris has established a Facebook fan page for her movement and a website for her initiative with the acronym; LifT or Like it for Time (www.likeitfortime.wordpress.com). You can follow her efforts on Twitter (@likeitfortime). Kris is coordinating a letter writing campaign to bolster her efforts.

I realize that the Military Spouse may not be as familiar to the public as a president or Mark Zuckerman. But it is easy to realize and argue the impact the military spouse has on the news – for good or for ill. They are the unseen strength and backbone of the military.

The military spouse is the unsung hero of this war. By keeping the home front functioning – and thriving – our military is enabled, empowered, to accomplish its mission. After ten years they are still supporting their service member. They are finding strength and courage to endure multiple deployments, care for their families, maintain a long-distance and part-time marriage, and raise the kids as single parents for months on end and still volunteer in their local school and community. And they accomplish this without accolades and limited support. Often, okay DAILY, we hear, “I don’t know how you do it.”

 And far too many have faced the ultimate loss, becoming today’s military widows with courage equal to that found on the battlefield.

Won’t you join me in supporting Kris’s heroic efforts to make Time’s next Person of the Year today’s Military Spouse?

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