Monday, September 16, 2013

Military Monday: Listen Carefully by Vicki Morrison

Vicki L Morrison
Today's blog is a piece sent to me by my amazing friend Vicki Morrison. Vicki and I have been friends since we met at the Greenwood Military Family Resource Centre about ten years ago. Now a part-time freelance writer (with articles in many newspapers and popular magazines including the Canadian Military Family Magazine) and working on her first novel, she's also my writing BFF.  She is a proud Canadian, a proud military spouse and manages a full-time job while organizing the busy schedules of her three adorable kids. I hope to see her on the blog frequently (hint, hint Vic) over the next few months, as she also has been aware and hugely supportive of DEPENDENT from its infancy.

Listen Carefully
by Vicki Morrison

So, a couple of days ago I'm sitting at my desk at work and I overhear one colleague say to another, "It's a good thing Canada has the U.S. Military to look after us. What would we do without them?" Now, I'm not going to deny the Americans have a fantastic military. They do. I just happen to think that the Canadian Forces does a lot more (a lot more effectively) with it's limited resources and manpower, but as a Canadian military spouse I am a little biased.

So what did I say when I overheard this ignorant comment? Nothing. What did I do? Nothing. I didn't even correct them. Typically Canadian, eh? No quick comeback, no point in getting into an argument, no point rocking the boat. I went back to work, tucking their comments away for the drive home when I would protract a witty, enlightened rebuttal - effortlessly refuting their stupid diatribe.

A week later the anniversary of 9-11 came around. As usual it hit home and it hit hard. The memory of that day slamming me back in time. That feeling of helplessness; knowing there was a chance my best friend, my husband was going to be involved in fighting terror. There was a chance he would go to war. He didn't, but many CF members did. Friends, colleagues, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. Some didn't come back. Some came back with souls and bodies so bruised and torn they will never be the same. I thought back to the conversation between my colleagues I had overheard. The day I couldn't find the words to speak up on behalf of the Canadian Forces. The day I couldn't be bothered to argue on their behalf, rock the boat, educate the ignorant? I was ashamed.

I made a decision to never let the opportunity pass again. The opportunity to represent the Canadian Forces as a military spouse. To speak for those who no longer have a voice. To stand up for my husband's profession, his bravery, his dedication. On the anniversary of 9-11 I sat down with my co-workers and I told them about life as a military family, about my friends who are military spouses too. As military families our stories are varied and, in some cases, unbelievable. But they're our stories and they need to be told.

So I prayed with my co-workers. For our military. For wisdom and clarity for it's leaders and courage for all soldiers. I made my point. There are stories to be told. Words, once only whispered behind closed doors, that have to rise above the din of everyday Canadian life. Only when those stories have been heard will the Canadian Forces – members, and the families that stand behind them, be respected. Respected for the sacrifices they make everyday, across this country and across the globe.

So listen carefully. Our voices are rising. The words have been penned. Soon, you'll hear our stories. We will not be ashamed.

Thank you Vicki, for stopping by the blog and sharing your thoughts. Hope you can come again soon!


You can find Vicki on Twitter : @Morrisonminutes
On her blog here.
Or on Facebook here.

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