Lessons That I Learned as A Military Kid

By Curtis R. Joseph, Jr./Opinion

From the beginning of 1977 through the middle of 1981, I lived in Hanau, Germany. At the time, I was an only child, and my mother was stationed there due to her enlistment in the United States Army. Bear in mind that this was well before the internet. Not only was there no cable television, but there was only one channel with programming in English. Consequently, that was the channel that I watched.

During the last couple of years, though I watched my fair share of cartoons, the majority of what I watched involved news coverage of the Iran hostage crisis. Many will recall that a militarized group of Iranian college students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and captured fifty-two American diplomats and citizens. The crisis dragged on for 444 days and, by virtue of the fact that I was immersed in it, it played a crucial role in shaping my psyche.

I was ten years old at the time, and my fascination with politics began as I watched the saga play out in real time. Given my predicament, being so far detached from home, family and friends, I realized that much like the American hostages in Iran, I was a stranger in a foreign land. However, something beautiful happened during this time in my life. The other military children and I united and banded together around those things that we had in common. In short, we had to find the common in order to maintain some semblance of sanity and normalcy. Little did I know that those experiences in repeatedly finding the common would ultimately hone a very necessary life skill (i.e., the ability to relate to people who appear, on the surface, to be different than I am). I would submit that this particular skill is necessary now more than ever.

So many find themselves in the echo chamber, where all beliefs mirror their own, that any belief, no matter how unmoored it may be to reality, takes root and spreads like wildfire. To that point, look no further than the Congresswoman from Georgia, who asserts, with a straight face, that there are lasers in space causing wildfires in California. Such an assertion would be laughable if it weren’t so terribly unfortunate.

As citizens, we rely upon individuals, like the referenced representative, to travel across the country, and to gather in order to legislate in our best interests. Thereafter, it was envisioned by the Founders that those chosen as representatives would return home, having accomplished tasks that benefit our state, specifically, and our country as a whole. As I consider the numerous issues that currently beset our country, I cannot say that we have the luxury to focus energy, time, or taxpayer dollars on such drivel as the Congresswoman is spewing.

Unfortunately, we live in a world so filled with vitriol and political gamesmanship that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. And, if they cannot agree upon a common nexus of facts, it is truly impossible for them to address the problems that everyday citizens face. In fact, the record reflects that each of the most recent Congresses has passed less legislation than the one that preceded it. Rising healthcare costs, stagnant wages, wage inequities between the sexes and the races, failing infrastructure, deficiencies in education, and Covid, among other things, are issues that will not solve themselves. They will only be solved when we silence the noise and focus with laser-like intentions (pun intended) on common problems that require common sense solutions.

Each and every day that the 52 Americans spent as captives in Iran was a day that required introspection and deliberation by our political leaders. Each of the 444 days was nothing short of a life-or-death situation. The stakes were high then. They remain high. We were equal to the task then. Likewise, we are equal to the task now. But we must go forward, with purpose, as one nation. For, as it is written, “The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.


7 thoughts on “Lessons That I Learned as A Military Kid

  1. Randy, I appreciate your comments, it’s the first time you have spoken to us in a way that helps me understand you and the way you think. I appreciate that this time you wrote from the heart, and not tried to be that person who tries to make someone else feel bad or illiterate because of what they wrote in a comment. Thank you for letting yourself become the common, yet uncommon man that has feelings for life and all it brings. I admire you for this, so please, next week, don’t make me take it all back by going back to your old ways.

    • Oh, you’ll take it back because you just said you would. Plus, you aren’t capable of embracing perspectives that challenge your bias views.

  2. Good reading Mr Joseph, except for the last two lines. Are you taking into consideration the immediate, multiple, unheard of number of Bidens’ Executive orders? Tell me, doesn’t this look like a dictatorship to you?

    One party calling all the shots- pitifully low bipartisan activity in our new administration. Can anybody think we will now be protected in this form of government?

    And democrats do not want unity. That is a lie strait from Satan’s mouth. As Patrick Bashan said in an article in the Epoch Times: “They aren’t really asking for unity, they are demanding conformity. There is a difference.”

    Demanding conformity OR ELSE. Evil vengeance if you take a different stand.

    I have little optimism for my grandchildren. And that breaks my heart.

    • Repubs in the Senate. Nothing in the last 2 years under Obama anything in the last 4 years. Over 400 bills left on McConnell’s desk. They opposed Obama’s healthcare but failed to come up with a policy of their own. Nothing. If they won’t work for the people, Dems will. The majority of Americans love their Obamacare. And if you care to check the polls of Americans, the majority are in favor of this real covid relief funding. It isn’t just about getting injections out and monetary relief for real families that are struggling to put food on the table or to pay rent. Either or, not necessarily both. So, if they refuse again to help American families, Dems will.

      • Vicki, do you know how many things were left on Harry Reid’s desk. You need to stop generalizing in your statements. Do you know how much work the dems have done in the past 4 years. Nothing other than try to Trump out of the Oval Office. All you do is bad mouth Republicans, and you need to stop that. You do the typical demonrats thing, you start name calling. As for polls, polls say what the pollsters want them to say.

        As for COVID relief…..come on, don’t start with it’s the repub’s fault. BS. Nancy Pelosi had her pet projects tacked on to that bill when it was sent to the Senate and the Senate, nor the President wanted to give her the money for her pet projects. So don’t say dems are the only ones who will work. I guess that is your new mantra. I just pray for the day you lose internet service where you live. It will be so peaceful. You are so irritating because you don’t know facts, you find something written by someone, and you take it as the truth. It ain’t always so, and you need to learn that.

    • No, you are so wrong about Democrats wanting conformity. You obviously don’t understand human rights, equality, what it means to be oppressed, poor, or the target of hate crimes just to name a few. America is more than just a
      country for white heterosexual Christians and a few filthy rich white men (mostly corrupted and sexist). There I s no unity without accountability which most Republicans have decided that accountability is not needed. Always blaming others and the democrats are an easy target for you to blame for all the problems. Neither side is perfect and there’s no way to make everyone happy but we can all do better to even out the field of opportunities for the People (not politicians or corporations) of our Country.

  3. The time you are relating to as a kid during the Iranian hostages crisis I was interviewing Muhammad Ali for Congressman Mickey Leland dealing with not only the hostages crisis but also the boycotting of the 1980 Moscow Olympics!

    I never served in the military. My oldest brother was a Montford Point Marine! He served for 30 years! He became a Yuma, Arizona policeman after retiring from the Marines! As a kid I witnessed what my family went through when we got notice he was missing in action in Korea! My parents had to go to the Red Cross to find out if he was living or dead! During that time my daddy couldn’t vote because he was black! I watched what my brother family went through when they lived with us when he was an advisor in French Indo China (Vietnam)! I saw what it did to our family! Even though I didn’t served I always supported the families of servicemen! One of the highlights of my life was receiving the Army National Guard Presidential Medal for the volunteer work that I did for families of men serving our country! I know what it’s like to having a family member in harm’s way!

    Mr.Joseph I would suggest you go back and study the history of what caused the hostages to be taken in the first place! It was during those times that I met President Jimmy Carter! A wonderful person but a awful President! Just for the record because of my involvement in politics I was offered the food and beverage concessions for the Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush 1980 campaign!

    Just remember everything that have happened until now is part of the evolution of the Revolution! I’m glad to be part of the greatest experiment in self government! Haven’t always been pretty! But progress have been made! I’m optimistic for my grandchildren! Peace!

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