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The Home Front

Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

Why Do I Write About the Military So Much?



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I got an interesting comment on my last article, which I wanted to respond to more publicly:

Mrs. French, I read NRO several times a week, and never miss entries in the Home Front blog. Thus, I read pretty much every word you write on here. I’m not sure that you’re aware of it, but it seems you mention your husband’s service in Iraq in roughly 3/4 of your columns. It grates, after a while. A lot of people have husbands, and wives, and brothers, and sisters, and on and on, who have served overseas, and yet they don’t feel the need to mention it at every turn. My cousin has a husband who served in Afghanistan for ten months, came home, buried their son, grieved for six months, then served another ten month tour in Kuwait. And yet his deployments (and, I might mention, their son’s death) are not the touchstone of her existence, mentioned as the backstop for every single story, observation and opinion. Just a thought, meant with respect.

First of all, I don’t really write about the military all the time, do I? Here’s my list of NRO columns, and — of the last fifty — I might have written about military matters about five or six times. I should also mention that at Evangelicals for Mitt, I write about why Christians should support Governor Romney for president, almost every day. At SixSeeds.tv, I write about faith and family issues. On What She Read, I write about the books I happen to be reading at any given moment. And on the French Revolution, my husband and I write about religious liberty, reality television, jihadism, adoption, politics, and religion. (Plus, I write celebrity memoirs, for people who don’t have anything to do with the military.)

However, the commenter is correct to point out — I do intentionally try to write about the military. Not only did I co-author a book called Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War with my husband David, I also try to incorporate a military perspective into my writing here on National Review.

Why? The answer is simple. We’re going into our tenth year of war, yet you wouldn’t know it unless you turned to page 23 of any major newspaper. Scour the pages of the New York Times, USA Today, or even National Review and what do you see? Who’s writing from the perspective of people affected by the war?

This perspective is sadly and egregiously underrepresented in punditry and social commentators, so here I am. I know, many people have had a more difficult time than my family. Many deal with the pain of ultimate loss or the continued agony of injuries. And they deal with it stoically and, often, silently. However, silence can mean continued separation — and continued incomprehension from fellow citizens. So I do whatever I can to remind people there is still a war, and that some of us bear that cost in ways great and small.



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