Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Veterans Day, traditionally November 11, will be observed this Monday. It gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of the Armed Services. As we do, we embrace them in all of their complexity.

As the average age of men and women in the Armed Forces rises, many are a part of the Sandwich Generation, concerned about caring for family members at home as they continue their service to the country. Their burden becomes especially apparent on Veterans Day, a time for all of us to honor American veterans of all wars.

Yet, even on Veterans Day, controversy surrounds the most meaningful ways to pay homage to those who have served in the past and support our troops who are still in harm's way. Society's view of veterans has reflected how Americans feel about the wars their country fights. Veterans reminiscing in Ken Burns' recent documentary series on World War II noted how unity in the country was palpable at that time, acknowledging the bravery and service of the young men and women of the "Greatest Generation."

Now, however, as during the Vietnam war, Veterans Day is as likely to touch off a storm of anti-war protest as it is to perpetuate a peaceful time of reflection and thanksgiving. There are heated discussions about whether or not to show flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, how the names of those who have given their lives in service are to be used, and whether veterans are treated fairly by their employers.

What lessons can we, Baby Boomer members of the Sandwich Generation ourselves, take from veterans - those who have stood up for the rest of us and given their all to protect our way of life? As we respect their unique bravery, we can direct what we learn to our own family situation by applying the same principles to those closest to us.

Begin by expressing the gratitude you feel for what your family members have given you – protection, opportunities, love, strength, enjoyment of life. You have doors open to you now because of them. This can begin with something as simple as a heartfelt "thank you," and develop into a more textured and thoughtful recognition of what you are thankful for.

Think about additional examples that may work for you in your family and we will discuss more of them next week.

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Blogger J. said...

We should be observing this holiday now more than ever. This weekend is the time to be thinking about issues confronting our troops and their families. A good way to get involved is to check out the the Wounded Warrior Project. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness for U.S. troops severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really puts a face on the cost of this conflict. Here's a link:


2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the analogy between Veterans Day and the Sandwich Generation
- most probably because that is exactly where I am in life. Thanks. Barbara

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that sensitive entry about Veterans Day. I like the way you related it to everyday family life also.


7:49 PM  

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