Fisher House Foundation’s Generosity Makes Me Cry

Posted at Oct 9, 2013 11:08 pm

In my Fiction Meets the Real World page (Extras), I explain that I support the Fisher House Foundation’s work with proceeds from my books. In the current government shut-down, this charity has stepped up to do what we have always assumed our government does. Bring mothers to the side of their children’s caskets. Pay death benefits to a soldier’s spouse. Pay for funerals. Can you imagine if you were the parent or spouse of one of the six soldiers who has died in Afghanistan and the others worldwide since our government closed, and the money for your family’s benefits was “not appropriated”? Can you imagine trying to figure out who to call to find out where and when your loved one was being repatriated to the United States? Can you imagine hearing a recorded message about the government shutdown and wondering if you’ll even be able to get in? Or, God Forbid, if the plane is even flying home? The military helps these people, of course, but can you imagine how a government shutdown adds to their crisis?

I’m a writer, so I have a good imagination, and I’m a former Army officer, so this feels very, very personal. And very, very wrong. 

Here’s what this news makes me want to scream:

“Most of you in the House of Representatives, and a few of you in the Senate, why don’t you answer those phone calls and run the security gate to let the parents in and empty the garbage cans of used tissues from the waiting room at Dover, if the civilian staff can’t come to work? Why don’t all you Congresspeople who will undoubtedly praise Fisher House (deservedly) and try to wrap your narrow weak little shoulders with the mantle of true patriots like them, why don’t you donate your whole salary to Fisher House Foundation instead of just commending them for solving a part of your mess?  

One piece of legislation to remedy this situation, as you partisan patriots in Congress trotted out when this story broke, does not fulfill your oath to uphold the Constitution any more than showing up for work one afternoon would count as working for a soldier or teacher or janitor or security guard. Your job in Congress is simultaneously incredibly important, because you have to fund and open our government, and yet you are so far less important to the fabric of this nation than the person who holds a door for that mother or father or wife or husband waiting in Dover. You in Congress – you are full of yourselves and full of morality, and yet you have no morals. You have forgotten who you work for, and what your job is.

Congress, you’re not competent enough to sweep the floor behind those caskets if you can’t do your job and open this whole government. I don’t care what you want to fight about or with whom. Quit it. Open the government now. In your misbegotten partisan zealotry you have disrespected your actual oath to the Constitution for long enough. Those who have given the full sacrifice would tell you that too. But they can’t.”


I’ve said my piece.

But I know they won’t listen. I am merely one citizen, one veteran, one mother.

One American.    

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