#MilitaryMonday “Keeping It In”

**I would like to say a special thank you to Blue Star Families, and Colonel Anthony Henderson, United States Marine Corp. 

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Blue Star Family, Military Lifestyle Survey Release.  If you have never been or heard of it I definitely urge you to go and check it out here.  See if what is important to you was important to other military families.  If you aren’t military, reading this survey might give you insight into the military life.  The invisible divide between military and civilian worlds was something of special note on the survey.  There was a fairly high number of those surveyed that felt, while civilians as a whole are supportive of the troops, they don’t understand them.  Its pretty hard to understand something that you don’t live, but how does that feeling affect our lives…that, I guess, is something to think about.

I could go on and on about all the things that were talked about that day.  It was so much information, insight, thoughts and feelings that I wish I could ramble on for pages.  But who wants to read that.   There was one particular thing, that stuck out to me that day.  It came in the form of Colonel Anthony M. Henderson, USMC, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I’ve never seen him before (although I heard some rumblings in the crowd) and most of my experience with Marines in high authority has been, well, basically terrifying (insert nervous laughter here).  

He touched briefly on the subject of PTS/TBI/Suicide, which was in the top five concerns among military families today.  Twenty-three percent of service members surveyed, and 24% of spouses surveyed, reported PTS symptoms regardless of diagnosis.  Nineteen perecent of service members said they had actually been diagnosed.  From those number, 57% reported that treatement was not saught out, which issues of “confidentiality/career concerns” being the main reason for that.  When broached about these numbers Colonel Henderson spoke of a culture of keeping it in.  We are a nation that has been at war for over a decade and we weren’t ready, and still aren’t ready, for what that means.  The culture of the military is a “keeping it in” culture, he said.  Steps are being taken, but we won’t likely see the results for years to come.  It didn’t become this way overnight, and it won’t change over night either.  My husband had been able to attend that day.  That struck a chord with him.  He 1000% agreed with that statement. When something is so wrong – PTS, high suicide rates and the like – we want to find a way to fix it instantly.  It just doesn’t work that way.  It really sucks, but its true.  

So how can we help?  Educate yourselves.  Know the signs and know what to do about it.  Its really difficult to force a spouse to get help, especially when they don’t want to, for whatever reason.  I have to say that after having used Military OneSource, and helping friends use it, it is completely confidential.  Nothing ever got back to anyone that we/they didn’t want it to.  You are referred to civilian doctors, for free, who only have your typical reporting duties.  Even a baby step in the right direction is a step.  But no one can do it on their own, no matter what their uniform looks like, no matter what their rank is.  Those in positions of authority that only encourage and feed this culture of “keeping it in” are doing a great disservice to their country and to the men and women who wear the uniform.  You have to start somewhere.  Find friends who are real.  Surround yourself with support of all kinds.  Find “battle buddies” who are there for you.  Don’t be afraid to get help, as a service member or a spouse.  

Together we can help change the culture of “keeping it in”.  

**all statistics stated above can be found in their entirity in the Blue Star Families Survey.  Visit the above mentioned link, as well ashttp://www.bluestarfam.org for more information
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Escape From Planet Earth, Opens Friday the 15th!

Tuesday my two oldest and I, was able to attend the pre-screening of a new movie, Escape From Planet Earth. Thanks to the ever Amazing Blue Star Families and AMC Leows Georgetown movie theater, we got to experience a movie before anyone else.  I think that is pretty cool.  You may or may not have heard of  Blue Star Families, but they are a wonderful organization whose only goal is to the assist the lives of military-connected families.  With programs like Books on Bases, Mil-Kidz Club, Blue Star Theaters and Museums and Operation Honor Corp they strive to assist and bless so many military families.  Blue Star Families also encourages getting active and volunteering within their community.  That is how I discovered them.  I jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back.   So, this past Tuesday we were blessed.


Escape From Planet Earth is all about the very maucho, but sometimes a little cocky, Astronaut Scorth Supernova, who finds himself trapped on Planet Earth.  He sends out an SOS and his older, but smaller brother is sent to rescue him – and hilarious mishaps and funniness ensue.

I have to admit I was only slightly hesitant because it was rated PG.  It really annoys me when cartoons so clearly geared towards children are not rated G.  Most of the time it is because of adult humor.  They say they have to keep the parent’s involved, but seriously I think that is ridiculous.  So I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t upset about much of anything in the movie.  There were definitely some intense parts and the bad guys could be a little scary at time (especially for my 4 year old).  There was a little bit of adultish, or rude humor, but it was not completely out there.  The voice talents of Brendan Fraiser, Steve Zahn, George Lopez, Jane Lynch, Chris Parnell and Sophia Vegara creates a stellar cast!  Thumbs up for that makers of Escape From Planet Earth.  My kids loved it and I loved it too!  It is definitely a great family movie if you’re looking for one this weekend.

I think it is especially important to give back as a Military Family, to be involved with others in our community.  How are you involved in your community?

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#SEALTeamSix DC Premier

Thanks to one of my wonderful bloggy and fellow Mil-Spouse pals, the hubbs and I were able to take part in the DC Premier of SEAL TEAM SIX: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, at the Newseum last week.  By now the movie has aired on National Geographic, and if you haven’t seen it I really suggest that you find a way to watch it.

I was given the amazing opportunity to attend from a Blue Star Families, and a very awesome friend of mine.  Attending was one of those experiences that I could almost not really describe to someone.  Being at a premier is pretty darn cool if you want to know the truth.  We hadn’t had the chance to make it to the Newseum yet, and after seeing a glimpse of it that night it is going to the top of our list of thing to do.  The Museum was amazing and they catered to us extremely well.  Working with National Geographic, as they did, it made it truly a night to remember.

 Me and the hubbs on the Red Carpet

So, lets talk a little bit about the movie.  The movie stars Cam Gigandet (Easy A, and that movie with Cher and Christina Aguliera – and freaking adorable), Anson Mount, Freddy Rodriguez, Alvin “XZIBIT” Joiner, Kathleen Robertson and Kenneth Miller.  People you will also recognize are William Fichtner (Entourage, Blades of Glory and Black Hawk Down), and Eddie Kaye Thomas (Paul Finch in the American Pie films).    So, yes, it is an actual straight up movie, not a documentary, not one of those weird inbetween films I’ve seen before.  No, it is a feature film type movie.  It is amazingly acted, excellent filmed and great time was taken to get accuracy in what was portrayed.  And although what actually occurred isn’t, and may never be, fully disclosed to us there is enough out there and good guesses can be made.  The hubbs recently read No Easy Day and that provided him with a whole other perspective on the movie.

Unfortunately there was a lot of political “stuff” floating around about the movie.  I heard plenty of input from both sides.  Many people said, “I don’t see what the big deal is.”  But if you want me to be honest, if you take into account the involvement of Harvey Weinstein, some of the things that he originally wanted to put in but had to remove, and the timing, it is almost impossible to not at least assume there was some sort of political-ness going on.  Although it was obviously denied, and will probably always be…..with the presence of so many circumstantial things I would have had more respect for them if they would have least acknowledged the fact that the cloud was hanging over us.  My husband is always telling me that I like to be angry.  Of course he’s sort of teasing, but I do have my opinions and I can be pretty loud about them.  So, the fact that I didn’t get all uppity about this movie, and the political cloud, shows you that it just didn’t really seep into the movie.  There were scenes of the President and audio of him talking, but it was all very relevant to the story line.

 A ton of information is jammed into the movie.  You gotta pay attention, and it is really helpful to know a little more about things – more than just what the news reported – to really engaged fully in the movie.  By the time it was over I was crying and had decided that when I grow up (ha! ha!) I want to be the CIA Analyst that Kathleen Robertson’s character was based on.  She’s a rock star, and I’m sure she’s rock starring it up in the CIA right now!  Seriously love her!  From the perspective of a military wife, and as part of a military couple, this movie was great, 4 Stars.  From a regular movie-goer’s perspective it might not be the best movie out there.  Like I mentioned earlier, it moves quickly; but it also has interview type segments, characters are fully developed, sometimes you think there’s something more to a character by the way they look or little things you notice and then nothing is ever explored further about them.  It didn’t go un-noticed by me for sure, but there were so many other things that I cared about in the film that they weren’t important to me.  From a real movie critic’s perspective, it is probably an easy way for the writer and director to skate around things.  You’re telling a story about one of the biggest parts of modern times, something that our generation will talk about like our parents talked about JFK, and where they were when it happened.  So you don’t necessarily have to do all the normal things that you might do in a movie, if it weren’t about that, and if it weren’t on the small screen.

Check it out for yourself, and let me know what you think – if you have seen it, or if you see it later.  Make sure to check your local listings for re-airings, and also for the rest of the new shows that are part of a six-night television event.

All movie photos courtesy of National Geographic TV (website). I received tickets to this even thanks to Blue Star Families, as a guest. I was not compensated in any way for my review or thoughts. The are my own.

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