The biggest reason you should care about this issue is quite simple: you are a human being. These are people that are getting very sick, and people whose children are suffering immensely.
Let me lay something out for those of you who don’t know. Army family (all military families) pay to live on base or on post. While it is true we are given a housing allowance (that’s a topic for another day) none of us pocket any of that money. Every single dime goes to housing and these are not free houses, these are not state-of-the art homes, and this is not luxury living. Some, if not all, of the homes are very old, some are deemed “Historical” — all of them are in dire need of upgrades.
The special report out by Reuters is just further proof that the entire housing system needs to be updated. This not just an issue exclusive to Fort Benning, GA — this is country wide, it effects bases from Louisiana to Texas. The scope of this issue could be much wider than anyone even knows, and are you really okay with that?
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know someone that is actively serving in the military to care about this issue. Just like the water issues in Flint, Michigan you don’t have to live there or know someone that lives there to care about water quality. We live in a country that loves to tout our supremacy in all things, and yet we are allowing people — CHILDREN — to become sick and possibly die because of our water quality. How can this be?
Reuters cites: “In 2005, the Army released an environmental study that said 75 percent of its 90,000 homes nationwide didn’t meet its own standards of quality or safety. Of Benning, it said: “As homes deteriorate, the risk of children’s being exposed to hazardous materials … would increase.””
So what can we do to help? We have to hound our State Reps and Congressional Members about this. Change will not happen if you continue to think this is someone else’s problem. It is not just the Army’s problem — the Army, the Marines, the Air Force, the Navy, and the Coast Guard all volunteer. All do duty to country and it is the country’s duty to take care of them. Whenever something happens, people always say “Send the Army!”. Well, how can you send them, if they are dying because of the out-of-date homes they live in are poisoning them?
I urge each and everyone of you that reads this, however small of a group you might be, please. Speak up for us. We depend so much on our civilian counterparts to make sure we are heard as people. We are families. We are loving and kind people. We don’t deserve this.