Sunday, June 03, 2007

Back Home and the forgotten WAR

Well a month back home and things are going pretty well for my family. We got a new house and did the moving process within the first couple weeks of being home so things have been busy and finally settling down and getting bored with staying home and I guess getting ready to go back to work, then there are times I want to continue to be lazy. I plan on starting back the 11th and will receive a promotion to full time reporter by the end of the month and I'm looking pretty forward to that.

I was planning on waiting awhile to do another Blog until after I started back to work. I decided last night I couldn't wait to get a few things off my chest. I have seen and heard a few things that I just wouldn't let go without saying a few things about it, because I knew you guys would give me a few words of encouragement and would be just as upset as I was when I experienced my recent rants.

I guess there are somethings I shouldn't gripe about or complain about but I feel I've earned the right to gripe about this and I've been very disappointed in all the people back home after all the wonderful support I got from all of you guys. I guess I got spoiled by you guys, sending all the kind words and great encouraging emails. I just returned home and things were so different with how the people treat the military and how they show their appreciation.

Here are my examples..

My disappointments started the day I flew home, we were sitting in the airport at Colorado Springs and one of the Flight Attendants asked if we were coming back from Iraq. I leaned over and told her "No we just spent a year in Afghanistan and where heading home." She leaned back over to ask me without skipping a beat "whats going on over there?" WOW I was stunned and when I started to explain a little thing called 9/11 an elderly couple stepped in and proceeded to tell her what was going on over there and did so ever so kindly!!

A few hours later I landed in Oklahoma and was as happy as I could be for the next few minutes. Well let me back up a few days, my wife didn't know what day I was actually planning on coming home. So I wanted to surprising my wife and daughter. I had made all the plans including renting a car and driving down to Ardmore to surprise Jodi and Bayleigh. Well now I can fast forward to the day I landing in OK. I was greeted at the airport by one of my best friends Jake. It was great being able to see a friendly face as soon as I landed in beautiful Oklahoma. I grabbed my bags and headed to get my rental car from a "wonderful" company Enterprise. I spoke with the clerk at the front desk and he started getting me ready to head on my way.. Well that wouldn't be the case, after showing my ID the clerk as for 2 utility bills because I was returning the car to the Ardmore Enterprise lot. I stood there wondering what 2 utility bills I would use considering I had just got back from Afghanistan. I tried my best to get past the request and after 15 minutes of no help from the clerk I lost my cool. The week long trip home and spending the day flying from Colorado was just a bit much and I lost my cool. But please give me a break where do you expect me to get a bill or how could you even expect me to bring one or expect to show one. Maybe I was just stressed or to excited to get home..

After the next few days passed and I got home I would notice things more and more, one day it was the local paper The Daily Ardmoreite. They had several articles about the Iraq War and how people needed to support the Troops over there and how so much needs to be focused on Iraq. A couple days later in the same paper a local car dealership was taking thank you cards and care packages to send to Troops in Iraq.

Please forgive me if I sound a bit jealous or even mean or just whatever you think I might mean. I am having a huge problem right now with all of the support for Iraq and not an ounce for Afghanistan. I know its an American War and Soldiers are Soldiers but Iraq is not Afghanistan and by far not the same War by any means. We need to be in Afghanistan and I'm leaving that one there.

Anytime a Soldier is home its from Iraq every time a Soldier dies its in Iraq, every time a Soldier gets deployed its to Iraq. There is another War out there and we have our Americans losing their life over there as well. I can't see how things are so forgotten and just passed over like there is nothing going on.

I'm not sure if these Wars are turning into Vietnam but things are not the way they should be. These last 2 weekends have really bothered me and just adding more to my rants and raves.. The Memorial Day weekend was more about sales at the mall and parties than it was about remembering our Hero's. My Mom planned a welcome home party for me just for that weekend and it seemed that there was nothing going on around town to remember the Troops. This last weekend just pushed me over the edge when my wife and I went to a concert. While we were at the concert Jodi decided to ask one of the ushers if there was anything they could do since I just got back home a couple weeks ago. The lady was nice with Jodi and got back with us to inform us that she told the Promotions Director and he would see what he could do for us. So they allow some people backstage for a meet and greet and hand out some free meet and greet passes and we sit there. The show starts and a DJ from a local radio station comes out and says "I just found out that we have a couple Soldiers in the audience who just got back home from Iraq and I just want to welcome them home." Half the audience stood up and gave us a standing ovation and that was it. So I didn't just get home from Iraq and that was all they could do for us. I don't expect much and I'm not complaining about not getting things. I just know what we've seen and what we've done and I think Soldiers deserve more than a small amount of appreciation. I've always asked for just a simple thank you and that was it and it seems like that's even a very big price for some people to pay considering the price the Soldiers have paid for them.

Anyway I will stop the complaining and move on and just see how things go for the next few weeks. We get about 6 months off from drill so as much vacation from the Army will be pretty good and Monday I will start back to the TV Station. My vacation is coming to an end but its been a good one and I hope to keep people up to date and write at least one blog a week about our life and how things are going. Thanks again for continuing to read my Blog and I hope you all continue to enjoy it.


karin in tx said...

Welcome Home Todd!!
I have never commented before, although I read your Blog diligently.
It bothers me immensely to hear what you have been going thru. You are a hero and gave unselfishly for your country! It is sad that there is so much more focus on Iraq. As a proud Soldier's Angel I can attest to the fact that the troops I have supported in Afghanistan echo your sentiments.
Know though that there are very many of us who have not and will not forget all who so bravely serve in Afghan.
I salute you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service! I pray your tranistion home continue to unfold smoothly!
God Bless you and all who serve!!

Mrs. Fierce Shoes said...

Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice. I am so happy that you are home. I've been checking your blog daily waiting for your next update and I'm glad to see there is one today.

I know I can never understand fully how you feel but I DO APPRECIATE YOU. My Dad served in Viet Nam and he taught my brother and I to appreciate the service that you guys provide for us citizens back home.

I know this won't make you feel better but hopefully, you'll be able to spread the word and make a difference. You already have for me!

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Wecome home! Sorry you are not getting the respect you deserve. Thank you for serving this country. There are many of us who apprecitate your sacrifice and of all those who have served in Afghanistan.

I am unsure why the papers are not reporting more about the war there. Perhaps it is because they cannot fault our country for fighting against those who caused 9/11. And too often they thrive on controversy - instead of reporting the facts.

Thanks for serving.

Cindy Edwards said...

Welcom Back!! We have alot of the "Iraq thing" going on in FL too. When I mailed the package off to Mark with the shoes and goodies I made sure the whole post office knew it was going to Afghanistan and that we had soldiers there who were trying to make a difference!

myrtle beached whale said...

Welcome back and thanks for your service. Unfortunately, the American public are not well informed. They get all their information for ultra liberal biased reporting. The people we need to neutralize are in Afghanistan, not in Iraq. We sent forces there long before we were in Iraq. Forces that were needed to fight the source of terrorism. Right after 9/11 patriotism was evident and I saw flags flying everywhere. But that was short-lived. The American people have a very short memory. The soldier serving in Afghanistan is an unsung hero. I am singing your praises here.

Rejenia said...

Welcome home! Sorry I am so late, I have been fighting VISTA and finally am getting back some of my addresses.

I am emailing more of my rant, but your perceptions are right on the money, so don't worry. The further problem is that most people don't seem to really realize that we are at war anywhere at all. I don't remember where I saw it, but the media writer was saying that the war has not really effected most people's everyday life in America.

But we love you and welcome home. Job well done.

Ron Simpson said...

I am sorry that you got treated that way by Enterprise. If I had known what kind of crap you were going through, I would have driven to the airport (all of 2 miles for me) and drove you home myself. Small minded people seem to find positions to inflict their personalities on us. I agree that Afghanistan is not getting the ackonwledgement that Iraq is getting. I figure it is for several reasons. 1. The press and Democrat leadership is using Iraq as a weapon agianst the administration. 2. Which makes it the "in" thing to do for a lot of people. 3. We had a undisputable reason for going into Afghanistan so there is no controversy attatched to it. Controversy fuels the ratings. 4. By and large we are seeing a lot of success in Afghanistan. Which, though it gets very little media fanfare, is a direct opposite to what we are beign shown is happening in Iraq.
We also have troops in other theatres. I read a blog regularly from a Special Ops soldier that was in the Phillipines. They get zero recognition.
But the people that actually pay attention to world events, we know what is going on and appreciate your service.
Welcome home. Enjoy your time with your folks.

Flag Gazer said...

Hi Todd!
It is good to know you are safely home and life is moving forward. Congratulations on the new home!

What can I say, my friend. Most Americans are selfish and ignorant of the world around them, though more than willing to express their ignorance and selfishness loudly. Read this...

It isn't the first time and won't be the last time I have that conversation.

Before you let it get you down, remember that you have had the remarkable gift of seeing and experiencing things most Americans will never have. You have also had the gift of complete strangers trusting you with their lives and security. Then, trusting your character and integrity while sending you money and care packages to aid and assist those who need us all. You have been admired on a one to one basis by many people you will never meet.

The reasons that Iraq is in the forefront are purely political - what better way to "support the troops" and bash the President at the same time. The simple act of repeating the word enough times that people recognize it and get sick of hearing it, is a political statement by much of the press. The Afghanistan war is tricker to play politics with. The MSM doesn't report on it.

As the Oregon 41st continues to come home, the press here gets really confused in trying to cover it and every article quickly slips into coverage of Iraq. Go Figure!

Just know how much we are grateful for all you have done.

The Roaming Bilderbacks said...

Hey Todd,

Glad to see you made it home!
I can understand your frustrations, there is a lot of Coast Guard over in Bahrain, and a lot of people don't even know such a place exists!

Hope you're settling back into civilian life okay!

-Rachel B.

Sarge Charlie said...

Welcome home Todd, sorry it took me so long to stop by and see if your had posted. You know I still have a hole in my heart from my experience returning from Vietnam, it is a sad day when America lets a returning warrior come home with out the brass band you earned.

I see the problem being related to your industry, as a new reporter with the knowledge and experience you have, you can make a difference, look for the good news stories that other people are passing up. It may cost you your job, depending on what kind of station manager you have but there is news out there that the average American will never see.

I had a “Good Buy Afghanistan” party for you on my blog, if you did not see it go back and take a look. We love you man, for what you did, for who you are, and your continued service for those of us who are too old to do it ourselves. Thank you so much for your service and welcome home my friend....... Thanks from an old soldier who still flies his flag each day.

Sarge Charlie said...

Me again Todd, just wanted to tell you I did a SHOUT OUT about this post.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

hi todd. glad to meet you. here from sarge charlie, he has a shout out for you today. i remember when he came home from viet nam. he was told not to wear his uniform off base. it was too dangerous. can you imagine that? after being in a war, it was too dangerous to wear your uniform at HOME???? i truly understand. and it sucks, it really does. thanks for all you did. sorry i did not meet you sooner my friend.

smiles, bee

Desert Songbird said...

I suspect this is much the same reaction some of the WWII vets got when it came to returning from the War in the Pacific v. the European Theater. Most Americans have heard the words "Pearl Harbor" but I suspect few ever thought about the war on the "other side" of the world.

I was a regular reader of SgtDub's blog, and I'd like to think I'm a somewhat informed person. I offer you sincere thanks for the work you did in Afghanistan. I believe that the perseverance of men and women like the ones who have served there and will serve there will make a difference in the lives of the people of Afghanistan. Your humanitarian efforts will not go unrewarded.

Wade Huntsinger said...

Yes, what Ron said. I totally agree. God Bless and its great to have you home.

Lois Grebowski said...

Many, many thanks for your service to our wonderful country!

Most of all, welcome home!

Hugs, Lois


Sgt. L's Wife said...

I found you through Sarge Charlie. My Sgt. is from OK so, from one Sooner family to another, WELCOME HOME!

Thank you for all you have done while serving in Afghanistan and wearing your uniform proudly. I'm not going to repeat what has already been said but I will say this: You are a hero and will continue to be one for your service. I'm proud to have you as part of our extended family.

1sg keith said...

Welcome home. I was in Afghanistan at the OMC-A PAO from Oct 04 to May 05. If you visit my blog site, scroll down on the right side you'll see my Afghanistan posts, and my video. The 'Stan was beautiful and I'm looking forward to going back. I'll go through and read your posts when I get the time. Again, welcome home.

Rock Solid said...

Hey're the extension of ourselves that we wish we were...we understand in a different way how your feelings are prone to different visual triggers and definitely wish you would never have to feel the least bit slighted. Most of us will never know the emotions you ride while we try to relay to you how much your contribution to history and the caring you and yours have shown throughout all this immense struggle.
Right now we need you to enjoy.
Thanx and remember the media is ruff stuff and they play a secret game.

Anonymous said...

Gripe away! My husband and I have supported many troops in Afghanistan through the Any Soldier/Marine program. One group in particular is very close to our heart, a National Guard unit from Florida that returned last year. I have to search to find news on Afghanistan. It is the 'forgotten' war. When trying to discuss it with co-workers, I get glazed stares. Don't know how this situation can be rectified. Thanks for your service, all the best to you and your family.
Cathy and Gary Borowski