What Loss And Grief?

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For the purpose of this assignment I interviewed someone from a military family, as I wanted to understand what loss and grief entails or looks like from a military perspective. When I asked my friend if I could interview her for an ethnograph in relation to loss and grief, she said that the loss of her father and brother were two of the most devastating losses she has experienced; mostly due to the suppression of emotion that widely characterizes military culture. There is a spirit of stoicism that is indoctrinated and woven into every fiber of military life, including loss and grief. Throughout this paper I will refer to my friend by the pseudonym Allie. Allie’s first experience of death within her family occurred at the age of 40 when her father passed away. Allie came from a culture of third generation military officers with high ranks. Her father was a Colonel of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in the United States Air Force for 30 years. He was also a missile launch commander and air pilot instructor. She told me that he “flew in over 500 missions and went to two wars, World War II and the Korean War.” Her father received a seven gun salute at his funeral and was buried in a cemetery in Colorado. As she recounted the details of the funeral service, I could feel her go back to that day as if she was drifting into that memory and re-experiencing it. There was no wake for her father. There are usually church services where family may speak before the funeral of military
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