What are you talking about today?

I read this article on CNN today and immediately began thinking of the still very great need we have to tell the story of military service, so that our nation can begin to understand it.

The author shares:

“Since February 26, when the Sheen story began dominating headlines, at least 13 U.S. troops have died in support of the Afghanistan war. Besides the four honored in the Facebook post, seven others were Sgt. Kristopher Gould, 25; Spc Christopher Stark, 22; Pfc. David Fahey, 23; Spc. Jason Weaver, 22; Cpl. Jordan Stanton, 20; Staff Sgt. Mark Wells, 31; and Pfc. Kalin Johnson, 19.

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, and Airman Zachary Cuddeback were killed in a March 2 attack on troops at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

Italian Lt. Massimo Ranzani, 36, and British Lance Cpl. Liam Richard Tasker were also killed in Afghanistan in late February and early March. Another British soldier whose name has not been released was killed Wednesday.

As I looked at the names of those who’ve died in the last two weeks, I thought about my phone conversation with Jeff Wilfahrt.

“Get this on the front headlines,” he said, “and make people aware of what’s going on.”

One of the concerns of people who work on veterans issues is the idea of recency.  How long until the national conversation stops being about our veterans and military families?  With protracted conflicts, it’s become normal to see a drop-off in national interest in the costs of war – costs that are in both human and resource capital.  But, from the veteran’s perspective, such a drop-off in interest can be a very dangerous thing.  We NEED the investment of entire communities to ensure that our veterans and military families are receiving the support they so desperately need during their service and after.

So, today I’m asking, what are you talking about today?  Are you helping your veteran brethren by sharing your story?  Are you educating your civilian co-workers and friends about the realities that veterans and military families face?  We must be our own best advocates and put ourselves “on the front headlines” so that our needs AND our successes are what everyone is talking about.  Please share your thoughts, needs & successes in the comments.

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