I grew up in my grandparents home. My grandfather was career Navy and I was taught from an early age to appreciate what our country offers and what our Constitution guarantees. My grandfather survived Pearl Harbor (he was on the USS Oklahoma as it capsized) and he went on to fight in almost every major battle of the Pacific campaign. He also fought in the Korean War. I appreciate our service men and women and the families they leave behind when they are called to foreign lands to defend our way of life.
This week I was at the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk. In the line in front of me was a woman with 4 kids, she was trying to buy what I would consider "the essentials" for a family...juice, peanut butter, milk, bread, soup, lunch meat...and she did not have the money to pay for what her WIC coupons did not cover.
There was a woman in line between the two of us...she was very impatient and made a rude comment about not trying to buy what you don't have money for...at this the mother of four burst into tears. She then proceeded to inform all of us that she was not some "welfare mom using the system" she was in fact a widow of a soldier that had recently died in Afghanistan. That shut up the rude woman.
I wish I had the money to buy her groceries for her, but I did not. I paid for my milk and quickly caught up to her to ask if I could help her to her car. I held hands with her older children while we crossed the parking lot and I asked her how she could be in such dire straits. She then proceeded to inform me that as a veteran's widow she was afforded none of the guaranteed support that our veterans receive. How is this possible?
She informed me that upon notification of her husbands death she was given 15 days to vacate their on-base housing, and his final pay was taken back because he died at the beginning of the month - they said that they "prorate" the pay. In addition, the $10,000 death benefit that she should receive will be needed to bring him home and bury him.
I was completely astounded and enraged that our military could treat a widow of a soldier in such a manner. This woman, to me, has given the ultimate price...just as her husband did. She stayed home, raised his children, worried and prayed for his safety and was - in the end - treated like trash to be discarded as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How did this happen? What legislation came across my ballot that allows our government and military to treat military families this way? I do not remember hearing about any laws or policy on this...perhaps it is time to put this to the people. Perhaps it is time we as the people of the United States of America stand up and say, "THIS IS NOT RIGHT!"