View Full Version : Military Wife Speaks Up

07-09-03, 10:47 AM
A poignant letter. Well worth reading.

Subject: A Military Wife Speaks Her mind

It could have been any night of the week, as I sat in one of
those loud and casual steak houses that are cropping up all over the
country. You know the type- a bucket of peanuts on the table, shells
littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with
longneck beers and sizzling platters.

Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass.
I let my gaze linger on a few of the tables next to me, where several
uniformed military members were enjoying their meals.
Smiling sadly, I glanced across my booth to the empty seat where my husband
usually sat. Had it had only been a few weeks since we had sat at this very
table talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East? He made me
promise to come back to this restaurant once a month, sit in our booth, and
treat myself to a nice dinner.
He told me that he would treasure the thought of me there eating a steak and
thinking about him until he came home. I fingered the little flag pin I
wear on my jacket and wondered where at that moment he was. Was he safe and
warm? Was his cold any better? Were any of my letters getting to him? As
I pondered all of these things, shrill feminine voices from the next booth
broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking invading Iraq. Didn't he learn anything
from his father's mistakes? He is an idiot anyway, I can't believe he is
even in office. You know he stole the election."

I cut into my steak and tried not to listen as they began an endless tirade
of running down our president. I thought about the last night I was with my
husband as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his
smallpox and anthrax shots and the image of him standing in our kitchen
packing his gas mask still gave me chills.

Once again their voices invaded my thoughts.

"It is all about oil, you know. Our military will go in and rape and
pillage and steal all the oil they can in the name of freedom. I wonder how
many innocent lives our soldiers will take without a thought? It is just
pure greed."

My chest tightened and I stared at my wedding ring. I could picture how
handsome my husband was in his mess dress the day he slipped it on my
finger. I wondered what he was wearing at that moment. He probably had on
his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed coffee stains, over the top of
which he wore a heavy bulletproof vest.

"We should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any
weapons. I think it is all a ploy to increase the president's popularity
and pad the budget of our military at th e expense of social security and
education. We are just asking for another 9-11 and I can't say when it
happens again that we didn't deserve it."

Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering
outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and
women who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? I glimpsed at
the tables around me and saw the faces of some of those courageous men,
looking sad as they listened to the ladies talk.

"Well, I for one, think it is a travesty to invade Iraq and I am certainly
sick of our tax dollars going to train the professional baby killers we call
a military."

Professional baby killers? As I thought about what a wonderful father my
husband is and wondered how long it would be before he was able to see his
children again, indignation rose up within me.
Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a boldness I had never known.
Tonight, one voice would cry out on behalf of the military. One shy woman
would stand and let her pride in our troops be known. I made my way to
their table, placed my palms flat on it and lowered myself to be eye level
with them. Smiling I said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation.
I am sitting over here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. Do you know why I
am alone?

Because my husband, whom I love dearly, is halfway across the world
defending your right to say rotten things about him. You have the right to
your opinion, and what you think is none of my business, but what you say in
my hearing is and I will not sit by and listen to you run down my country,
my president, my husband, and all these other fine men and women in here who
put their lives on the line to give you the freedom to complain. Freedom is
expensive ladies, don't let your actions cheapen it."

I must have been louder than I meant to be, because about that time the
manager came over and asked if everything was all right.
"Yes, thank you." I replied and then turned back to the ladies, "Enjoy the
rest of your meal."

To my surprise, as I sat down to finish my steak, a round of applause broke
out in the restaurant. Not long after the ladies picked up their check and
scurried away, the manager brought me a huge helping of apple cobbler and
ice cream, compliments of the table to my left. He told me that the ladies
had tried to pay for my dinner, but someone had beaten them to it. When I
asked who he said the couple had already left, but that the man had
mentioned he was a WWII vet and wanted to take care of the wife of one of
our boys.

I turned to thank the soldiers for the cobbler, but they wouldn't hear a
word of it, retorting, "Thank you, you said what we wanted to say but
weren't allowed."

As I drove home that night, for the first time in while, I didn't feel quite
so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of all the patrons who had
stopped by my table to tell me they too were proud of my husband and that he
would be in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the
next day. Perhaps they would look for tangible ways to show their pride in
our country and our troops, and maybe, just maybe, the two ladies sitting at
that table next to me would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom
this great country offers and what it costs to maintain. As for me, I had
learned that one voice can make a difference. Maybe the next time
protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly
stand across the street with a sign of my own. A sign that says "Thank

Lori Kimble is a 31 year old teacher and proud military wife.
She is a California native currently living in Alabama.