Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Support for War Widows – Vietnam vs. Iraq and Afghanistan

I was reminded today of one of the most dramatic differences between the Vietnam War and the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This difference is the same thing that enables me to write this blog:

The internet.

In an article on the website, Nikki Lomax-Larson writes about a young wife – identified only as Emily -- who two years ago at age 22 became a widow after being married less than a year. Emily’s deployed husband had been on patrol handing out pamphlets to encourage Iraqis to vote when a sniper’s bullet killed him.

The new widow posted a thread titled “My DH was just killed,” and the other members of the military spouse board responded online with comfort. Some of these other wives drove or flew in to attend the funeral.

Back in 1970 this online support would have been a thing of science fiction novels. And while the military personnel and families of that time would have been supportive, away from a post a new widow might have found little support from a country filled with anti-war protesters.

The additional beauty of the internet today is that two years later Nikki Lomax-Larson can write that Emily “graduated from college, landed her first real job, bought a house and started dating again.” And now Emily is engaged to be married.

Imagine if the internet had existed during the Vietnam War! It could have helped the widows of the Vietnam War as much as it is helping the families of deployed military personnel today.

Read the entire article at

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