Military Loved Ones and the Internet

By Libby Hopkins
Until Vietnam, American wars were truly an enigma to families and the country back home.  Still photos, long awaited letters, films created by United States officials, and news reports whose information came from government spokespeople were all that loved ones and the American public could see.  In contrast, due to most American families having television in their homes by the time of Vietnam, actual visual footage of war was broadcast directly into regular Americans’ living rooms.

Fast forward to the present, real time news with graphic visuals transmitted digitally by embedded reporters is commonplace.  Further, loved ones can often communicate with their deployed service members in actual time via email, text or Facebook messaging, and can even see one another and the troops’ surroundings while communicating via Skype, Face Time or the like.  Consequently, parents, spouses and other loved ones can have access to up-to-the-minute information about the service member and his/her unit’s whereabouts, combat situation, location, movements, schedule and leave expectations.  When a loved one gets excited and innocently shares that information with friends and loved ones publicly on social media, there can be dire consequences.

Something as simple as, “So excited that John’s coming home from Fallujah on Thursday in time for the birth of the baby”, posted on Facebook or Twitter, could trigger consequences ranging from the entire unit’s leave being delayed or cancelled, to tipping off the enemy as to the unit’s plans to move out, possibly jeopardizing missions, damaging national security, causing territory to be overtaken or even the loss of American or allied troops, or civilian lives. » Read more

Reading/Discussion Groups Reflecting on New Mexicans’ Experiences with War

The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center will host a series of discussion groups, reading excerpts from its own anthology, From the Frontlines to the Home Front: New Mexicans Reflect on War. MAMF Writer-in-Residence Paul Zolbrod and co-editor Allen Dale Olson have compiled some thirty narratives solicited from New Mexico veterans and their loved ones to project family involvement in military action. These first-hand essays and reflections are dedicated to the idea that the standards of military service are met not only by those in uniform, but also by moms and dads, siblings and kids, and spouses and partners—something often overlooked.


The first “Frontlines” group will meet in three sessions at the Museum of the American Military Family (546B State Highway 333–Old Route 66-next to Molly’s bar) in Tijeras. Meeting dates are: March 3, 10, 17 from 1:00-3:00. All participants will receive an anthology and the group is free and open to the public. For more information on additional workshops, or to reserve a slot in the March group, please call (505) 504-6830. Groups are limited to fifteen people, and participants are encouraged to attend all three days.


This program is made possible through funding from the New Mexico Humanities Council.


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