I’m trying…

Seriously. I’m trying. I really am.

I’m trying to maintain a mostly nonjudgmental attitude. Live and let live. But sometimes I see a head-scratcher like this and I have to ask, what are you thinking?

Here’s a lovely youngish family from Davidson, NC, and she’s um, she’s ummm, going to bring her young children with her when she reports for duty at Fort Benning.

Well, read these snippets of it below…  ***(I had to add my own comments like this)***


updated 1:22 p.m. MT, Sat., Feb. 28, 2009

DAVIDSON, N.C. – When Lisa Pagan reports for duty Sunday, four long years after she was honorably discharged from the Army, she will arrive with more than her old uniform. She is bringing her kids, too.

***(okay, who decided it was “four long years”; the writer or the soldier? Kind of a subjective thing, hey? Is that supposed to make us care more? because they were “long” years?)***

“I have to bring them with me,” she said. “I don’t have a choice.” 

***(don’t have a choice??? puh-leaze, she easily has a dozen choices, They’re just making a bad one- yes I am definitely including you Dad)***

Pagan is among thousands of former service members who have left active duty since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, only to later receive orders to return to service. They are not in training, they are not getting a Defense Department salary, but as long as they have time left on their original enlistment contracts, they are on “individual ready reserve” status — eligible to be recalled at any time.

***(wow, I haven’t read the actual verbiage, however being “eligible to be recalled at any time” while under contract seems pretty clear)***

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

***(okay, is this REALLY a good idea? do they think she’s the ONLY enlisted serviceperson with kids and a logistics/childcare problem?)***

“I guess they’ll have to contact the highest person at the base…

***(snicker, snicker, yuck, yuck… Boy sheeez gonna git that ol’ army real gud)***

…and they’ll have to decide from there what to do,” Pagan said.

***(sure, letting the army decide what to do with you and your kids is really what any good parent should aspire to)***

“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.” 

***(so take that you mean old army. they’re just going to play “chicken” with you using their kids. wow, it really IS a great idea, mom & dad.)***

‘Obligations and commitments’ 

***(jeeez, ya think?)***

Master Sgt. Keith O’Donnell, an Army spokesman in St. Louis, said the commander at Fort Benning will decide how to handle the situation.

“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.”   

***(dangit, there’s those 2 dirty words “Obligation” and “Commitment” rearing their ugly heads)***

….She always knew there was a chance she could be recalled, so she buried the thought in the back of her mind. 

***(okay, so now that “chance” has become a reality. They did NOTHING to prepare for this happening? during wartime???)***

“When I enlisted, they said almost nobody gets called back when you’re in the IRR,” she said. 

 ***(who are “they” and by her own words “they” said “ALMOST”…they didn’t say “NEVER”!!!!! )***

The young family settled outside of Charlotte in the college town of Davidson, where Travis landed a job as a salesman. It required lots of travel, but that was OK — Pagan enjoyed her life as a stay-at-home mom to their son Eric and second child, a daughter named Elizabeth.   

She opened a child-care center in her home, and started taking classes at nearby Fayetteville State.

***(you see how the writer says “SHE opened a chid-care center”.  Not “THEY”. This is so we might conveniently leave dad out of the mix. If we say THEY opened a child-care center then this whole issue gets a bit murky and weak. I am sure the writer would have really appiciated it if the couple actually divorced, and Dad ran out. THEN we’d have a real juicy human interest story. But no, DAD is in the picture. HUBBY is part of the program. And they opened a freakin’ CHILD-CARE CENTER! and now they have no option for caring for the kids while she’s doing her tour????…Caring for children is their business and this is all they can come up with???)***

Mom makes her plea
The orders to return to active duty arrived in December 2007. She told the Army there was no one to take care of her children: Her husband spent most of his time on the road, and they believe quitting his job is a sure path to bankruptcy and foreclosure. Her parents live in New Jersey and her husband’s parents live in Texas. Neither are able to help out. The Army was not persuaded. 

***(So dad’s a salesman on the road with absolutely no option. come on, this is a load of crap. A working father (and mother) that run a freakin’ childcare center, two sets of grandparents and NO ONE can help? wow, what a family. What it amounts to is not wanting to return to service to fulfill the commitment she signed up for because of the inconvenience. Where are the descriptions of what she got out of the deal from signing up? Thousands of dollars? an education? the downpayment on the house?)***

Tom Tarantino, a policy associate with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a nonprofit group that helps veterans, said the Army has taken a hard line on many of these cases.

“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.

“That’s how serious it has to be, and I’m sure what the military is telling her — and I’m not saying that this is exactly the right answer — but the fact that it is inconvenient for her husband’s job is not the military’s problem. It’s very harsh.”

***(It’s NOT “very harsh”. Very harsh is starving, homeless, disease, violence. This isn’t. You know what? the Army should throw uniforms on the kids and ship them out to Iraq with their mom. Then she can see what HARSH looks like. 

I am sure she’ll have an epiphany pretty quick and lo’ and behold, they’ll think of a few options for childcare back in the good ol’ US. Maybe she or one of those Grandparents or-god-forbid-even DAD (what a concept) will actually put the best interests of the children in front of their own.

This entire issue is not even a blip on the radar of HARSH. It’s called L.I.F.E. Be thankful for the blessings and deal with it.)***


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