Friday, November 12, 2010

Pride at a Price


As an Army wife, I couldn't be more proud of my husband.  In March he returned from Afghanistan, which was my first real deployment as a military spouse.  I am proud of his service and thankful that he returned home safely along with the rest of his company.  

When our servicemember is deployed, it's natural to want to share that pride with others.  We champion our roles as Blue Star Families, so why shouldn't we show it?  I had a blue star banner when I was back in North Carolina, but I chose not to hang it where it could be easily seen.  Living in an (off-post) community that has a significant military population, I'm surrounded by fellow Army families.  One of my neighbors has her blue star banner on the front door, for all of the world to see.

As military families, we've often been briefed on OPSEC, but PERSEC (Personal Security) needs to be considered just as necessary for the safety of our families, especially when our spouses are away for any length of time.  Think about all of the people that drive in and out of your neighborhood on a daily basis - service technicians, landscapers, friends/acquaintances of neighbors, postal workers, delivery services, people cutting through housing, etc.  The blue star banner may scream "Waiting For My Soldier" to me, but it says "I'm home alone and vulnerable!" to others.  If you have a family, especially a young family, you should be cautious.  If you've got no children and no roomie, you definitely need to think twice about who knows you're home alone.  Me, I had no dog, no weapons to defend myself, so I chose to err on the side of caution.  

Auto stickers ("1/2 My Heart is in Afghanistan") have the same effect - I'm heading home to an empty house, all alone.  Follow me!  I love those sorts of things just as much as the next girl, but you need to think beyond the cute-factor and consider what sort of a position that sticker/banner/proclamation puts you in.

If you just can't help but buy these sorts of items, do yourself a favor and keep them inside your home.  Put that sticker on your fridge, hang your banner up on a hook inside the house somewhere.  You may think I'm paranoid or overreacting now, but this is the sort of thing that only needs to happen once for you to learn that lesson.  I'd just rather not go there.

What about you?  Do you think I'm crazy?  What are your thoughts about the visible posting of a blue star banner? 

7 comments:

Adrie Kovic said...

I think you are very smart for thinking this. We live in a crazy, crazy world and it's better to be safe then sorry!

Erin said...

It's sad but it's so true. I know age isn't a factor when it comes to victimization (and ability to defend oneself), but I think of how many milspouses are young women with small children and that worries me.

Sarah said...

I've ALWAYS thought this way. I am going to share your post on my blog. It's SO important that military families think this way. Safety first, even at home.

Erin said...

Thanks Sarah! You've always been really good about protecting yourself. ;) It always makes me smile to think how cautious you were when we first met and I wanted to meet up, LOL.

The lady on my street has it right on her front door and people cut through our neighborhood ALL the time to get to some of the "major" streets around here. I don't remember if DH has met her husband or not, but still...

Sara said...

I feel the same way. And many people call me paranoid. I dont have the traditional bumper stickers. Instead I have a yellow window cling for every brigade my husband has been in. I can support the troops and my husband without telling the whole world I am a single woman. I am VERY careful who I tell I am home alone. Most people just dont need to know. It's none of their business. Our company sold car magnets that say "My husband is a fighting Eagle" and then stated his company and brigade. In a military community so small, most people know by looking at that magnet that my husband would be deployed. So it's on my fridge in my house. And I have a furry alarm (my yorkie, he's not going to eat anyone any time soon, but he has and will wake me up if something seems odd) and a door alarm system (although, not traditional) and a gun, that I can use even half asleep at 2am. I am paranoid. And I'm okay with that. I will be safe while my husband is gone. And even more than that, my husband knows I will do everything in my power to be safe while he's gone, so he wont have to worry as much. I made friends with neighbors I trust. They know I am alone and make sure I'm okay. But there is no reason to broadcast that we live alone now. It's just not safe.

Erin said...

Sara - SO true about small communities knowing who's out and who's home at any given time. It doesn't take a genius to put two and two together. You're right on the money about our servicemembers needing to know that we're safe at home - so we're one less worry on their minds.

Pamela said...

Excellent post and I agree 100%. We keep our Navy ship stickers on a scrapbook page and not on the bumper of our car. It's easy for anyone who's following the local news to see when a ship has left for an extended deployment.