Let's talk about some military "perks"... and not just the commissary and health care and housing.
I'm talking about those Military Discounts we sometimes get at different business places and such. They are great! I know I love to receive them and I know you can't get them everywhere, but at times it is nice to have the acknowledgement. One of my personal favorites is at Old Navy, where for the 1st week you can get a certain percentage discount off your total purchase. Love IT!
Anyway, a while ago we went to the movie theatre (we've gone there many times) and this time they said the military discount was only for Active Duty members. Okay. I'm fine with that, REALLY, I am. No beef at all and I paid full price for my ticket even though I never had to before at that place.
But now I've thought about it and it sort of bothers me a teeeeeny bit. I honestly feel that active duty members should get their discounts. They put their life on the line and signed a paper saying that their own well being, opinions, and choices aren't going to be their own and they'll do what they're told to do even if it kills them in the process.
And I want to extend that to retired and reserve personnel as well.
But here's the clincher. I feel that dependents are also fully entitled to some of those "perks". For instance there are several spouses who are raising their kids alone while their other half is overseas. Many women, like my mom and several friends, have had to deal with incredible crap from housing, tri-care, in-laws, the military in general, as well as diseases while their husbands are on duty or flying around or on a training weekend. I know I've had to deal with some of that crap as well, but thankfully it hasn't been too bad (except for Tri-care when I was about to deliver my daughter... but that's another story).
I've heard people talk that military wives have such a "great life" because everything is paid for. *ahem* it isn't really paid for. An example? We live on base but it is privatized housing which means that the BAH really doesn't go to us, it goes directly from my husband's paycheck to somebody else's pocket. You know that lovely insurance? It can be a complete pain in the butt and as long as you are in relatively good health there isn't much of a problem. Anything besides that is difficult to come by. Even now many "base" hospitals are basically HUGE referral services where it can take weeks to get an appointment and in most cases you have to get permission just to go to ER or Urgent Care -- and the country is going to government run health-care? Yeah, that's gonna be great (note the sarcasm).
Kids too. I was a navy brat. I remember my dad being gone for long periods of time and then the transitions once he returned. Moving around. Changing schools. Life for military kids isn't easy. A lot of the security that comes with having roots doesn't exist. There are a lot of children who really don't even know their extended families because they never get to see them. And even though they have married parents, it seems like they grow up in single parent households.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the spouses of these military members have to deal with a lot. They may not lose their life overseas, but their spouse can. And in the mean time there's a lot to deal with that the normal public does not. Give them some appreciation and realize that those horizontal tan colored ID cards are nearly just as valuable as those vertical white ones.
Give us our discounts! We've given up a lot as well.