No Man Left Behind

Sometimes we need to go the extra mile–several times–for military families.

Posted in , Oct 31, 2014

A soldier hugs his daughter. Photo by videodet for Thinkstock, Getty Images.

No Man Left Behind, the unofficial Marine Corps slogan. This phrase sums up the tight bond found in this branch of service, as well as others. No matter how bad things get, those in the Corps know they'll never be left behind.

I've also noticed that this same bond is often found between those who have a loved one serving in the armed services. I certainly found that kind of loyalty among other moms who had a son or daughter in the military. Beyond moms, my support base quickly expanded to include other family members, wives, sisters, aunts, etc.

Before I assumed this type of support was universally true, I did some research. I conducted an informal poll, asking others if they'd experienced the same kind of no-man-left-behind support as me.

For the most part, their responses confirmed that they’d found the help they needed from others in similar situations. But the numbers weren't 100%. I also discovered a small number who felt they’d been left behind.

A soldier hugs his daughter. Photo by videodet for Thinkstock, Getty Images.As I dug deeper, I found a few things common to that group. These are things they can do, as well as things we can do, to make certain there's never anyone left behind.

For those in the left behind group, I discovered they didn't spend much time looking for support. As the mom of a son in the military, I knew there was help available, but sometimes I had to dig to find it.

For those of us with help to give, we need to make ourselves easier to find. This means getting involved and volunteering with organizations that have help to give.

Those in the left behind group were also reluctant to reach out–even if they knew the support was there. There were various reasons, ranging from “I didn't want to impose,” to “I didn't realize how much I needed support.”

For those of us with help to give, sometimes we need to go the extra mile. Even more than that, we may need to go the extra mile several times before our invitation is accepted.

Today I’d like to challenge everyone who reads this to join me in making sure that military families are included in the No Man Left Behind motto.

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