While doing research for my own blog article regarding the Military/civilian divide, I was directed to this post on the Warfighter Media site by Boone Cutler. I was so taken by the authors statements and how they mirrored our own here at Granger Legacy that I requested to reprint it here in its entirety.
A Letter From A Civilian
by April Dykes Linder
Civilian. I have mixed feelings about that word. There’s no doubt that that’s what I am, I don’t deny it and I don’t pretend that I am not. But in the circles that I am in, where that word is used, it is often said with disdain and disregard. I understand it but sometimes it hurts. It hurts because I would never look at a veteran and say “oh, all they did was join the service”. You see, in life we all have our places, what we were called to do, what we were meant to do, what makes us the person we are and we all have the opportunity to fulfill that destiny. I was not destined to be a warfighter. I was not meant to sign on the dotted line, to raise my hand and take that oath to lay down my life for my country and fellow Battle. There are many like me and quite frankly I am thankful that ‘civilians’ like me didn’t. I only want the Best of the Best, those that were born to be warriors, the descendants of Sparta, those that feel the burning passion in their bellies to give of themselves in that way.
I will never pretend to know what war is like. Even in my wildest dreams I could never imagine the feelings associated with war. I am not ingrained with the fortitude that it would take to face war. What I am though is grateful for those who are and I put that gratitude into more than just words, I put it into everything that I do but more on that later. I only know the fear of having a dear loved one gone and the joy of having them return. I don’t know what it is like to readjust to a world after service but I know what it’s like to love someone who has. I don’t know what it is like trying to forget while you also try to remember but I know what it’s like trying to love someone who is. I don’t know what it is like to want to sleep but being afraid to close your eyes but I know what it’s like to love someone who does. I am not a warfighter but I am from a long line of warfighters. I am a proud Daughter of the Revolutionary War, Daughter of the Civil War, a granddaughter of a man who thought he was joining the Air Force only to find out he was tricked by an Army recruiter once he arrived at basic training, the daughter of a Navy Corpsman, and the very proud and lucky sister of a warfighter who returned home from our Nation’s latest engagements. I am not my family’s warfighter. I am a civilian.
But I am a civilian that the warfighter needs and there are many like me. I did not spill my blood but I will fight until I have no breath for the warfighter who come home and need me. It is an honor for them to accept my help. I did not pick up a weapon but I will use the weapons I have in my abilities to fight for all warfighters. I did not use my talents against an enemy but I will use my talents to fight the non-warrior class that abuses our warfighters. Why? I was only borne to be blessed with one brother by birth but the brothers of my brother are my own. The sisters of my brother are mine. I did not take an oath that gave me an instant family bond but I have a brother, a father, a grandfather and countless who came before who did so their family IS my family. I am not a descendant of Sparta but I am a descendant of those that Sparta chose. Their service matters and I want nothing more than my service to them to matter as well.
For those who fought for me I fight for now – WE fight for now. I am in the most distrusted and most disdainful career for a warfighter to accept. I have chosen my weapon to fight with and it is politics. I have chosen my battle and it is to fight for warfighters of all generations. I have chosen my enemy and it is those who have not provided what they promised to warfighters. The enemy is the non-warrior class that has not followed through. I have chosen my leaders and it IS the warfighter, for to listen and follow anyone else would be to lose the battle all together.
Perhaps, there are many like me – Sarah Palin, Dean Cain, Taya Kyle, ‘Joe the Plumber’, Cathy from Alabama, AJ from California, the list goes on and on. There are many that will come after me. I don’t know the commitment level of the people I listed, but I commit my actions and deeds and am willing to die for the cause.
I was lost and could not find a place for my dedicated service until I heard Boone Cutler explain the concept of the Warrior Class. Now I know where I belong. He was right when he said there are only two classes in America, The Warrior Class and the non-Warrior Class and everything else is only a distraction. Either people serve a cause greater than themselves, or they serve themselves. It’s that simple. Some of us civilians belong to the Warrior Class. I take up that mantle proudly and am willing to prove it. We are the ones who will help you carry the fight here at home once you return. We are the ones who will have your 6. We are the ones who will not only negotiate on your behalf but we will walk away from the table and elevate it to war against those who do not comply. You see, there are many types of civilians but we are not all the same. Just as in war you must have allies and now that you are home you must too. Do not see civilians as just another enemy, until we individually define ourselves as such. Teach your fellow civilians how to be your allies. Trust your fellow civilians who have earned the right to be trusted. And in return be their allied force too. Together we make up the Warrior Class. Your mission hasn’t ended, it’s just changed and now that you are home your fellow brotherhood and sisterhood has grown….if you’ll just have us.
I am proud to be more than” just a civilian” – I AM THE WARRIOR CLASS. I did not fight there but I fight HERE. I am a part of a growing family of those who know, those who recognize, those who respect, and those who will stand up and speak in favor of what warfighters have done for me. WARRIOR CLASS. That is who we are. And we are proud to take up the fight, wherever it leads.
Originally published at Warfighter Media on January 27, 2015 April Dykes Linder works as an Independent Political Consultant and lives in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reprinted by Author’s permission