Ok, here’s one that everyone can relate to at one level or another

You know all those people who with a tear in their eye were giving you hugs of support after something difficult happens in your life; like when your soldier disappears through the security check point going to get on the bird to deploy, when a family member you rely on is sick or hurt, or plainly your for whatever reason going to be going through a difficult time soon.

Most likely every single one of them pledged to you “If you ever need anything, anything at all, you just call me and I’ll be right here for you”?

Funny thing is if you actually did call on most of those people, they for one reason or another couldn’t help you?

I call those people “Launch Pad” friends.

When these people make all of these empty promises I believe they are doing it for many possible reasons but none involve actually giving a shit about your problems.
Mostly I think they say these things just because they feel like it is what they are supposed to say but truly don’t give any thought to what if you did call on them.

When I left for Iraq there were many people who told my wife and I that they were so proud of me and that if we ever needed anything at all that it would be taken care of ASAP.

Hell, my wife couldn’t even get anyone to look at her truck for her to tell her what might be wrong with it and if she should even put it into the shop or not.
I’m not talking just a day or two. She asked multiple people if they could take a look at it just to tell her what she ought to do. Every single one said that they would come over and take a look at it and for her not to do anything with it until they do because many shops would try to take advantage of her so they wanted to have an idea of what to expect ahead of time. (that by the way is what they were telling her so for those of you who are already thinking “Well she should have just quit waiting on those people and took it on in to the shop” why would she want to risk getting ripped off when so many people are telling her that it most likely WILL happen.)

While I was deployed and then when I got back there were many examples of this, so many that I could probably make a “WIKI - I’ll NOT Be There” site. There was a soldier who had 8 children (yes I said EIGHT) while in Iraq he got blood cancer was sent home and was dead within 2 months of our returning. We were limited as a Unit in giving them any cash or things to help out (don’t get me started on this) but there were people flinging the tearful promises left and right to these family members, last I heard they had not received much in the way of help at all since.

I got hurt while doing my time down range and it caused some MAJOR changes in my life. This isn’t the time to go into all of that but let’s just say that I can safely count on one hand the times that someone went out of their way to help me / us with something that I just can’t do anymore. Which means that most off the time I end up pushing myself way to far, and my wife ends up having to do entirely too much on her own. Especially now while she is pregnant.

I have soldiers and friends who are currently deployed and the same sad stories come trickling through. While all the fanfare is going on, everyone loves the soldiers and feels for their families but mysteriously when those people are driving home from the emotional gathering, they somehow forget that those people are still there and they are still alone.

This goes all the way up to the general public and the politicians as well in my opinion. When I walked into Wal-Mart wearing my DCU’s or ACU’s people would come shake my hand and tell me how proud they are of me and thank me for my service.
Now I get out of my vehicle wearing civilian clothes parked in a handicap space with disabled veteran tags, and Operation Iraqi Freedom sticker as well, and I have received dirty looks, smart ass mumblings and even out and out hateful comments like ‘you sure as hell don’t look handicap to me, you ought to be ashamed at using someone else’s (tags)’, ‘just because the car has disabled plates doesn’t mean that anyone driving it can park in the handicap spaces, only the one who they are issued to can’, and so on. I even had a police officer waiting on me when I came out of Wal-Mart one time because they got called and he wanted to verify that I wasn’t fraudulently using someone else’s tags.

So much for the loving members of my country promising to support me and others like me when we come home a bit worse than when we left.

I think that this is all symptomatic of the basic belief that I have now. It’s all good when people want you to do something for them or when someone uses you or your situation to make them feel better about themselves. But all of this only applies when it doesn’t cost them anything such as time, effort, money, sacrifice. Any time you need help from the multitudes of people who even get on television and swear how much they love such and such group of people and want to see everything done to help them, ask, if only to yourself, who have they actually personally helped and why.

As for on the more personal level of family, friends, and acquaintances, the sad fact of the matter is that at least for military families, we honestly don’t expect much in the way of help outside of our own front door because when we do rely on it, we get disappointed and left all alone, sometimes in worse shape than if we had not of asked for the help and believed the BS.

For those of you who find yourselves thinking and remembering someone who is having a hard time, how about at least calling them once in a while to let them know you remember they are alive, sometimes that alone makes a world of difference in how a person handles adversity.

For those of you who are still waiting on that friend to show up or call you back to let you know when they can come help you; all I can say is don’t make plans based on others. Make your plans based on what you can do and hopefully there may be some true friends that will show up at the time when you need them the most.

- Joe

February 24, 2009 · Posted in Family, General Public