Thursday, January 20, 2011

Because the military cares for survivors

So, imagine if you will that you put up with your spouse being in the military long enough for you to qualify for a pension, benefits, etc upon their death.  Now imagine that because you got remarried after that spouse’s death, the Defense Department demanded that you pay back all the benefit payments.  With interest.

A Brooksville, Florida woman knows about this first hand.  It’s not enough that these families sacrifice EVERYTHING.  Now, if the service member dies, the spouse left behind is going to be expected to stay alone for the rest of their days or have to pay back money to the government that they’re entitled to and have had to pay double taxes on.  Yup, you’re reading right – the money is taxed when it’s put away, and taxed again when the surviving spouse receives it.  So the government is, big surprise, penalizing war widows, widowers, and orphans.

Many spouses feel that our government is just waiting for military widows to quietly “die off”.  I feel that they’d be happy if spouses stayed anonymous, that they took the treatment that the military doles out to them – apathy, negligence, and in the case of my own family, abandonment and cruelty – with stoicism.  I doubt that any command I contacted would understand my well deserved wrath.  Because Donovan’s still in, I’m keeping quiet.  But I’m keeping the funds for a flight and getting a passport.  If something happens to him, I’m going to channel my mother.  And they won’t be happy.

Congress is finally realizing that this practice is going on and working to end it.  So what, are you telling me that military survivors haven’t been getting re-married, that these women stay alone and forgotten the rest of their lives?

I mean, at this point, yes, I see no reason to get re-married if something were to happen to Donovan.  I have 3 kids; their well-being is OBVIOUSLY my main concern no matter how many parents they’ve got, and as time went on, if I really needed that kind of attention, I could get a boyfriend.  But expecting these spouses to stay single the rest of their lives is selfish.  I know that many of my faith would say “marriage, who really needs it in an age of civil unions?”  Well, most Americans do.  Because you say “civil union”, and the majority of Americans’ first thought is “gay marriage”. 

In many ways the military does things that are so backwards and detrimental to their members and the members’ families.  Out-dated PFT test standards, the spiritual fitness test, unaccompanied tours for soldiers with families that are over 12 months long, and deployments that last at least a year are just some of the ways that the military adds mental and physical stress to service members and their families.

And people wonder why most military marriages end in divorce.

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