After nearly a decade of war, National Guard and military reservists serve in greater numbers than ever before, leaving their families to cope with invisible wounds.
As we approach the tenth year of Operation Enduring Freedom and the ninth year of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the wars’ impact on American families is becoming a major focus of study. As one of the co-founders and co-directors of SOFAR (Strategic Outreach to Families of All Reservists), a pro-bono mental-health project that identified extended families of National Guard and military reservists as an underserved population in 2004, I feel both angry and relieved. I am angry that our message, “Families are the invisible wounded of the war,” took so long to be embraced and that this delayed providing services by both the military and the public sector. I am relieved that the empirical studies demonstrating the strains on families—that will provide the evidence necessary for public and private funding—are being published with alacrity.