When we see people as heroes, we don't leave enough space for them to struggle as all people do at times in their lives. When we see people as head-cases, we don't leave enough space for them to demonstrate their strengths, courage, and creativity.
To all vets, military families and active duty service members, let me tell you with great certainty that the majority of U.S. citizens do not know us.
Skeptical that this schism exists? Think again. A 2014 Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 55 percent had served in the military felt disconnected from civilian life. That number increased to 64 percent for those who had served in combat.
The cold, hard reality? We can project that approximately 250,000 - 300,000 service members will be making the transition to civilian life annually through 2017. And this concerns me.
In the end, many of us may differ on what the final military pay and benefits package should look like...what I want more than agreement is your involvement. Sitting this one out isn't in yours or our nation's best interest.
As a military mom, I believe it's our sacred duty to honor the service of those who have sacrificed for our country. We owe thanks today and every day to those who wear the uniform. That is one of the reasons why First Lady Michelle Obama and I started Joining Forces in the first place.
I find it disturbing that military families often remain an afterthought, even as they serve an invaluable role assisting those who may require a little extra time and attention.
Chris' widow, Taya Kyle, joined us shortly after his death to share her personal remembrances of Chris...as a husband, father, son and friend to so many. Here's the link to our interview with Taya Kyle.
Senator Graham's question is about to be pondered in a way that has not happened since the draft ended 42 years ago. This will be a game changing debate.
War takes a horrific physical and emotional toll on our soldiers and their families, and we are currently not providing them adequate care and support. We must unite around our commitment and honor their service by adequately addressing their health and well-being.
We have so much to be grateful for in 2015, but we are not finished. Together we must break the barriers remaining that result in a second-class citizen status, and we must continue to fight until all military families are treated equally.
The reality is that we veterans come home to our families, neighbors and communities who, while grateful, also expect us to pick up where we left off. So where do we go from here? Here are some idea-starters...
For many people, this last stretch into the holidays is the pits. Those of us who grieve, battle depression, or for anyone whose life seems to be s...
Finances tight? Overwhelmed by all the people you have to make happy? These days can escalate stress in all of us. They are especially difficult for people in military service or other dangerous occupations, and for their families.
No matter how many deployments come and go, the absence of the most important person in our lives leaves us vulnerable in ways hard to express. These ghosts of my Christmases past remind me. If your spouse is deployed this Christmas, I don't know what you face, but I remember you.
I may not have been able to speak up when I was a child and people tried to change my name, but I'm not a little girl anymore. I can speak up now. I am not anybody's "little CHAMP." I am a military BRAT... and proud of it.