Of course, we didn't get to the Restrepo film yesterday. I got an email at 12.30 (movie was at 2) from the 2LT who had emailed me to confirm our invitation to the screening saying that " I regret to inform you that you and your husband will not be attending the Restrepo screening today". Seems that only platoon seargants and higher were allowed to attend, and they were going to be discussing classified information so my husband, who has a security clearance but apparently not a high enough one, and myself, because of course I have none, were bumped from the list.
Classy. Very classy. I'm not sure, when National Geographic approached them about screening the movie there, that they intended it only to be seen by officers above a certain rank. In fact i would bet that the kind people at National Geographic who went out of their way to set up this screening wanted it seen by as many of the soldiers and their families as possible, since we are the ones who can relate and we are the ones would most appreciate the film. Only the frakking <unprintable words here> people at Fort Campbell would turn a super generous act, like National Geographic allowing them to screen the film at the Fort for free into a prize for the brass and shut out all the soldiers and their families who would have really enjoyed seeing the film.
But at least I wasn't disappointed, or even surprised, when that email came in at 12.30. Why? Because I have learned never, ever to look forward to anything. The concert we were supposed to go last month that I was dying to see? Of course they wouldn't release him in time for us to leave to go see it. My birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, his birthday....of course they wouldn't give him any of those days off. It horrifies me and saddens me that over the past year I have given up ever expecting anything good to happen because if there is a way for the Army to take it away from us, they will. Losing the ability to see joy in your life because you are robbed of every bit of it by the petty tyrants who control your life is a horrifying price to pay to marry someone in the military.
And how I wish that annoyances like this were biggest problem. How I wish that every. single. day I didn't hear stories of soldiers abusing drugs and alcohol, taking their own lives, turning to domestic violence and other problems because they are treated so poorly. One kid in my husband's unit was on the verge of suicide because after falling down a mountain in Afghanistan and never receiving treatment for it he was deemed unfit to deploy again. He also will be crippled for the rest of his life. His unit turned on him, calling him a "worthless shitbag" and telling him he was "unfit to wear a uniform".
And it happens more than you think. Wounded combat vets are treated like trash, med boarded out whenever possible, usually without even a quarter of the benefits they are entitled to. Before deployments like this units start "hit lists" and they actively start going after soldiers they don't want to deploy with. Anyone with a previous injury is fair game, and they will be attacked, bullied, and humiliated mercilessly.
The Army drills these soldiers over and over and over to trust their units, trust their friends, trust their guys, depend on each other etc and so it's all the more devastating when those people are the ones telling you what a worthless piece of garbage you are. And then the brass say they are "befuddled" by the high suicide rate.
I am thoroughly disappointed in the way this was handled. Am I bummed we didn't get to see the movie? Yeah, of course, but we'll go see it in July when it hits theaters, even though right now the closest theater that is planning to show the film is in Lexington, which is three hours or so from here. What I am most upset about is that National Geographic donated the use of that ground breaking film FOR THE SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES so that WE could see it, experience it, and get some comfort from it. It was NOT INTENDED TO BE A PERK FOR THE BRASS.
That film could have done SO MUCH to help families. It would have been a great way to get soldiers to talk to their spouses about what they are going to be facing when they deploy, and what they will need when they come home. It could have given valuable insights to spouses about what exactly their husbands and wives are going through everyday when they are deployed. It could have saved marriages, and have prevented suicides, if soldiers who are suffering alone had been allowed to see it. But no, they needed to keep it for themselves, because God knows they couldn't give a shit about the soldiers and their families.