I am acquainted with an excellent ER nurse, who was recently made mildly famous in a CNN profile for being recalled to active duty. However, while she knew she was being interviewed for an article about the difficulties of family separation, she expressed to me that the article was edited in a way that made her sound less than committed (‘sandbagged by the editor’ is how it was put to me), and wants to set the record straight.
I asked her to write whatever she wished regarding the CNN piece, and here’s what she has to say:
My name is Kathleen Whitney and I am an emergency room nurse and a 1st Lieutenant in the Army reserve. A few weeks ago I was featured in a story on CNN.com. Let me start out by saying that the author of that article was my aunt, and I don’t believe she would ever intentionally misrepresent me. However by the time the story got through the editors there was a definite liberal slant to it.
It is true that my plan when I became an officer was to remain in an army reserve unit until I became pregnant and then transfer to the IRR – (Inactive ready reserve) until my children were old enough to understand if I had to be deployed. So when I got the letter calling me out of the IRR it was quite a shock and I was a little angry. However what the article does not go on to say is that after much worrying and soul searching I came to this conclusion. It’s a war. It wasn’t meant to be easy on anyone. Many, countless people have already sacrificed more than I have even begun to. So right now my family and I just focus on ways to make things easier on my little boy, Matthew, if I do have to deploy somewhere. I feel no animosity towards the military or President Bush for recalling me and others out of the IRR. The needs of the country have to come first. And part of being a good parent, I think, means helping to make the world a better place for our children. I remember Sept. 11. I hope Matthew never lives to see another day like that – where Americans are attacked on our own soil.
One other thing that they neglected to mention in the article which I talked about in my interview was the guilt I already feel for not having been deployed. When I was eight months pregnant my unit deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. Of course there was no way I could have gone with them at eight months pregnant. So I kept in touch with them as best I could via e-mail and care packages. It never slipped my mind that while I was sitting in my air conditioned house rocking my new baby, my unit- the people I trained with, some of my best friends- were baking in the hot desert, enduring untold hardships. It is hard to describe the feeling I had then, and still have now. If I don’t deploy I am abandoning my country and my unit. If I do deploy I am abandoning my family. I am truly torn. In the end if I am called to go, I will go and be happy to serve. But I can not volunteer. Because me volunteering would also mean volunteering my mother to take care of my child full time. It would also mean volunteering my child to do without one of his parents for a year a more.
I hope that this rebuttal or addendum to the CNN article will clear up any questions of my loyalty that may have been brought up. Only time can tell what will happen from here.
Good to hear from the source, we never questioned your patriotism. And, thank you for your service to our country.