3/1/09

Which Matter More.... Our Children or Our Country?




Here's a little of the article found at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,502525,00.html

DAVIDSON, N.C. — When Lisa Pagan reports for duty Sunday, four long years after she was honorably discharged from the Army, she'll arrive with more than her old uniform. She's bringing her kids, too.
"I have to bring them with me," she said. "I don't have a choice."

Pagan is among thousands of former service members who have left active duty since the Sept. 11 attacks, only to later receive orders to return to service. They're not in training, they're not getting a Defense Department salary, but as long as they have time left on their original enlistment contracts, they're on "individual ready reserve" status— eligible to be recalled at any time.

Soldiers can appeal, and some have won permission to remain in civilian life. Pagan filed several appeals, arguing that because her husband travels for business, no one else can take care of her kids. All were rejected, leaving Pagan with what she says is a choice between deploying to Iraq and abandoning her family, or refusing her orders and potentially facing charges.

Then she hit on the idea of showing up Sunday at Fort Benning, Ga., with her children in tow.

"I guess they'll have to contact the highest person at the base, and they'll have to decide from there what to do," Pagan said. "I either report and bring the children with me or don't report and face dishonorable discharge and possibly being arrested. I guess I'll just have to make my case while I'm there."

"Usually the only way that someone can get out of the deployment or get out of the military due to a family hardship is if they get into a situation where the kids will be put into foster care," Tarantino said.

Master Sgt. Keith O'Donnell, an Army spokesman in St. Louis, said earlier that
"The Army tries to look at the whole picture and they definitely don't want to do anything that jeopardizes the family or jeopardizes the children," O'Donnell said. "At the same time, these are individuals who made obligations and commitments to the country."

             Just recently I saw a show on Oprah where she did a live video interview with  a soldier in Iraq who's also single mother. The very first thought that went through my mind was, "you're that child's only parent and you are in Iraq; what if something happens to you?, does she not matter?".  I did not want to judge a parent yet from my own feelings as a mother, I would never willingly be able to leave my children to become a soldier. My children come first.  I would die for them, but not in a war.  
         Now, today I read the article above about this mother who was still contracted as a reservist yet started a family never thinking she's be redeployed. She's now married and has 2 toddlers. I am at a loss of words when I read stuff like this and ask myself, "where is the common sense in all this?".  For this poor mother to even be worried about doing time or possibly having her kids taken away to the foster system so she could meet her obligations to her "country" makes me enraged. Aren't those kids also part of "our country?".  Do their lives not matter?  
I will be writing a handwritten letter to a commander at Fort Benning tonight asking them to reconsider deploying her. 
I found an address online. 
479 Fort Benning Rd
U S Government Dept of Army: Infantry Hall
Fort Benning, GA 31905
(706) 545-2218‎
(706) 545-6814‎ - Infantry Hall

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