In the interest of generating support for the idea of nudging TIME magazine into considering the Military Family as TIME’s next Person of the Year, I’ll be posting a series of interviews with individuals who are part of a military family – individuals who may or may not choose to remain anonymous.
I found in my survey of people who have had loved ones go to war that anonymity is one of the best ways to get honest answers. There’s a tendency (one I understand) to want to stand tall with a yellow ribbon on the breast when your name and face are associated with answers to questions having to do with the military and war.
“How are you holding up?”
“Oh, I’m fine. He’s the one who has to deal with the war, after all.”
“How do you think the administration is handling the war?”
“I think the Commander in Chief is doing his best and that we can all be proud of our troops.”
“What’s it like moving around as often as you do?”
“Oh, it’s wonderful. I get to experience so many cultures and see things I never would have seen had I not been married to someone in the military.”
I don’t doubt there are many people who would offer the above answers in earnest, but I also know those are often the universally accepted stock answers – even for those who don’t believe them. No one tells anyone to say those things, of course, but there is a certain tendency to want to not say anything that could be construed as critical of the service member, the military, or the experience. Few will want to say publicly, “I’m not holding up well at all, frankly,” or, “I have strong feelings about the war,” or, “Moving around all the time is a pain. Are you kidding me?”
I don’t want anyone to give anything but the truth, whether it’s funny, sad, angering, or inspiring. These interviews will be with real people giving real answers, and whether they choose to remain anonymous is irrelevant; the answers are the answers, and the experience is the experience. I look forward to the interviews to come and can’t wait to share them with you.