I sympathize with the military families involved in the different wars, and the rare occasion when they heard from their loved ones fighting on the frontline or off on a mission. They were lucky if they received any contact at all, and their only form of contact may have been snail mail or word-of-mouth.
I am so grateful for today’s means of communication. I appreciate the ability to connect with my son Hans who is in the military. He has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He lived in Korea and now lives in Germany. Sometime next year, he will deploy to an active war zone again. If I couldn’t speak to him, I would go nuts! International calls are so expensive. In an active war zone, the phones are terrible. In Iraq, they had four phones and only one worked. And that one, I knew if Hans and I were disconnected, we’d continue to disconnect with shorter periods of talk time in between. Now we only use the internet to communicate. I can keep in touch with him through Skype, email, or Facebook to see how he’s doing.
Skype is the best. A face-to-face conversation is like having him in the room with me. I can see if he looks healthy. I get to see his smile. He’s given us tours of his room wherever he’s located. I get a peace of mind knowing that he’s good. Facebook comes second. If I don’t hear from him through Skype, I check out Facebook – not to be nosy, but to see if he has any activity on his page. Activity means he’s not on a mission or hurt. Email is also good; however, Hans doesn’t like to write. When he was home, I asked if he could write a little more in his emails, let us know what he’s been doing. Now he counts how many sentences he writes (I told him at least four).
I would hate to have been a mom or a wife or a sister before the phones or internet. If I don’t hear from Hans every couple of weeks I get worried. Now I just pop him an email if needed. I’m sure there’s others grateful for modern technology as well. I think of the fathers and mothers being able to see and talk to their children. Recently, one was able to watch the birth of their child. Even nonmilitary families can connect. When my mom was in transitional care, another patient would Skype with her grandchildren every Sunday. Who wouldn’t want to connect with family via the internet? I don’t think anyone would miss the chance if available.