Happy Memorial Day! Hope you’re all out there honoring veterans, eating barbecue, and otherwise enjoying the long holiday weekend that is the start of summer. (We’re underwater here in Central Texas. It’s refreshing after 5 years of drought to have some other extreme weather to complain about.)
I don’t have a coherent post today as such, but I did want to say thanks to our veterans. Some of the most powerful letters I get at Chump Lady are from people in the military. Either folks who were cheated on while they were deployed, or faithful partners who gave up years of their life, moving around the world to support their spouse, and who then get cheated on.
Why should that chump experience seem more significant than any other? Well, I think it’s because the idea of service to one’s country involves sacrifice. It’s a double kind of betrayal. If you’re supporting your spouse in the military, doing single parent duty while they’re deployed, never getting to put down roots because of the transitory nature of posts, it’s such an investment of yourself. There must be the sense that the sacrifices are shared by others, and there is a higher purpose. So to be betrayed after such a selfless commitment?
Similarly, to put yourself in danger, to serve in a war, is to live with constant uncertainty and fear. Service members look to their families for comfort and support. To be betrayed then? When you are at your most vulnerable? It’s horrific.
Some people find it antiquarian that the military has statutes against adultery. If you’ve ever worked in the military (I did briefly, as a writer for the Defense Department), you know that they put great emphasis on “unit cohesion” and honor. It makes sense that the culture would value loyalty and keeping commitments, you cannot lead people into war otherwise. Certainly, the institution doesn’t always live up to its ideals, but those statutes are there, codifying honor. I think that’s admirable.
To all the chump vets and chump partners — thanks for your service. Happy Memorial Day.