The Visit...
  • Marla Bautista

The Visit...


Photo taken during President Trump's Visit to Fort Drum, NY

Being different is something I am used to. I have always been the black girl, the hooah wife, just a spouse, and all the other things that would ostracize me from just being a great person. But until today, I’ve never been called a snowflake, at least not to my face. My current duty station (Fort Drum), recently had the honor of hosting the sitting president for the signing of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). A historical moment, no matter what side of the political aisle you are on.


The NDAA is officially the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Action for Fiscal Year 2019. It was originally presented to congress in April of this year to increase the military’s funding by over 700 billion dollars. The bill includes a pay raise for the troops, new equipment, and military health care additions and revisions. There were over 500 amendments done to this bill prior to it being signed, Monday.


At first, I was hesitant about attending the event. I am not a conservative Republican, nor any other type of Republican. I am not a huge fan of the current president, but I do support our military. I support the Soldiers and their family members, and to me, that has no political bearing. I love the men and women of our Armed Forces and no politics would ever separate me from that. I decided to attend this event not only as a support for our troops but as proof that we can work together and support a mission no matter who the leader may be.



The day of the event began bright and early. All invited guests were instructed to be prepared to load buses and ride to the hangar by 0900. I waited with everyone in the parking lot. I was alone, I stood outside thinking to myself, “What do I have to prove? Why am I here?” I had this feeling numerous times throughout the day, to be honest. As the bus I was in, pulled up to its destination, I stepped off to a long line of troops and family members waiting to go through security checkpoints. I saw a friend of mine, standing in line. I walked over and greeted him. He was one of the few familiar faces whom I trusted with my well-being regardless of ideals, so I accompanied him.

He is a Republican, A Soldier, and he is also a white male. At first, I didn’t want to mention how I felt about politics, the President, or anything that did not agree the day’s events, but I decided to be honest with him. As we waited for hours in the uncomfortable heat, we talked. We began talking about how our political affiliations have divided us as a nation. During that conversation we discussed our differences and how we think both parties can come together to make a positive change in the treatment of our Soldier and our family members.

Finally, the time had come, President Trump had entered the building. Everyone was cheering as he was announced by the Vice President and walked toward the podium. He began to speak, reading his speech and making his queued contacts with the audience. As he continued through his speech, I looked over at my friend. He seemed disengaged. Why? This was HIS person, his moment, and it didn’t seem like he was fulfilled. At that point, I began to understand why he looked the way he did. I think, and this is my personal opinion, that he didn’t feel the excitement that he thought he would from hearing the President speak. Maybe, he wanted to feel a sense of pride, or motivation, that oomph, but it wasn’t there. It was just another speech.

The words said that day, did not make me want to take action, it did not call America to its feet. But you know what did, the camaraderie we already had as a team, a unit. Knowing, we were a team not matter how we affiliated ourselves politically. Knowing that no matter how we felt that day, we came out to support of fellow brothers and sisters in arms and their families. That’s what brought us together. I am beyond proud to call myself a Military Spouse and a supporter of our Soldiers. Today was a lesson in politics that I would have never received had I not attended this event, and for that, I have no regrets. #hooah

©2020 MARLA BAUTISTA, WRITER

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