Seeing the television commercial angers me. To my core. The statements they make, the comparisons they draw. It incenses me. Because what they are living in a few short months is nothing like what the men and women live. It in no way resemble the sacrifices they and their families make.
Stars Earn Stripes debuts the Monday after the Olympics. The first time I saw the television ad for it, I was irate but speechless. Put in controlled environments that mimic war and military training, a handful of celebrities supposedly do just that–earn their stripes.
“I know there’s a chance I can die.”
Are you kidding me?! I wonder if I am the only one upset at this show. My husband just laughs. I know enough about television to be sure that they are not going to put celebrities in dangerous places that could cause harm or death. These are controlled environments–sets–designed to mirror other truly dangerous places. The previews show the celebrities talking and “confessing” that they didn’t realize how hard it’d be, that they are fearful for their lives. The women are sporting makeup and their hair is freshly done. The men are clean–free of dirt and grime. They sit in front of a camera, looking totally scripted.
“This may have been a very big mistake.”
As a military brat and Army wife, I am offended by this show. They have no idea what it takes to live this life. They will never have to face and live through what many of our service men and women do. They will never endure watching someone get seriously injured or witness their best friend or battle buddy die. They don’t leave for long periods to live in a primitive, hostile environment enduring little to no communication with family.
They will play pretend, driving by explosions and screaming in scripted terror, and after the final show, return home to their mansions where their families will be waiting with open arms. Their pay will not drastically change, they won’t have to return to work within a week’s time. They will retain no battle scars, there will be no reintegration.
Because they are playing pretend.
“It’s about honoring our veterans and our law enforcement officers.”
Then volunteer for the Blue Star Program. Donate to the Wounded Warriors. As a celebrity, you’ve got a lot of resources. Give your time, your money. Don’t mock us,
The choice to serve our country does not last a few short months. It does not mean controlled training in front of cameras that concludes within a few weeks. It’s ever so much more.
This life is spent in constant upheaval, constant change. Soldiers gone frequently on trips, training exercises, deployments. Spouses spending each day and night of a year alone and fearing the ring of a doorbell. A cycle of preparation, gone, return, reintegration. Moving every few years to few months. Arriving in a new place, unpacking, settling in and making friends, repacking, leaving. Sudden deployments, changes of station. Seeing crying family members in our rear view mirrors, and driving the car forward anyway.
It’s hard. It’s gut-wrenching. It will bring you to your knees, and lower. It exhausts you, shakes your faith, and jades your heart. It requires constant work, maintaining a family dynamic that is always changing. Holding down a homefront for your Soldier or keeping your head down to save your life. It’s missing years of your children’s life that you’ll never get back; trying to bond with a baby after missing months of its young life. It’s missing your child graduating, your friend’s wedding. It’s coming home to a spouse who’s changed drastically and struggling to find your place again.
It’s also beautiful. Because when you find that normalcy, even if it’s brief, you’ve won. When you figure out the family dynamic, when your heart finally leaps when you take your newborn, when your child finally accepts you again, you’ve won another battle. All you have is today. Because tomorrow, your Soldier could ship out again. It’s living in the beautiful present, learning from the past and not fearing the future.
Those celebrities have no idea what it takes to live a lifetime of true sacrifice. Because they will never live it. They will merely produce a mockery in during a few weeks. They will have their comforts, their families, their normal. Nothing changes for them.
But, this is why we fight this war, why we live this life. Because it’s truly ironic. We live this life, make this sacrifice so they have the freedom to produce television shows to mock it.
I won’t be watching it. I am married to the real deal. I am married to a United States Soldier.