Duty isn't abandonment

On Oct. 21, the New York Post featured a story about a married mother of four who abandoned her family to join the Occupy Wall Street protests.


According to the article, her initial plan was to stay only a week. Once she arrived, she now has no plans to return. She exchanged her banker husband and children for a new companion she met at the protest site – a waiter eight years her junior. She exchanged her Florida home for an air mattress and a tarp she shares with her new friend.

Her explanation is appalling and insulting to all who serve our nation, likening her abandoning her family to military service: “Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad?”

Her comparing her actions to military service offends the senses. True, soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors leave our families. But we do not choose where to go, or choose causes we support, but we go where our nation sends us. We deploy to hostile areas, with real bullets, where people bleed and die – and not to city parks, as the article mentions, where “hugs” are dispensed at the “empathy table.”

When we leave, we do not abdicate our family responsibilities, leaving them with no plans to return, but while serving our nation, even while deployed, we provide for our families and fulfill our responsibilities.

At the conclusion of my current tour, I will have “left my family” for about 25 percent of my military career – embarrassingly short compared to many of my fellow soldiers. But even so, I did not “leave” them to pursue my fancies, to join a communal protest, or for the purpose of evading my family responsibilities. Every day, when I come home to my empty apartment, I give thanks for my family, who serve their nation by allowing me to be here.

Maj. Robert Lyons


(The writer, a U.S. Army chaplain, is serving a tour of duty in Germany.)



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