From the Warfront to the Homefront – Our Military Calls it “Home”

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They never know where their next home will be or how long the stay. With a life like this, it’s the idea of “home” that grounds them. Military guests join host Katherine Morris on “If These Walls Could Talk” Online Talk Radio Show on the VoiceAmerica™ Network.

Military veterans and leaders join host Katherine Morris to examine the impact of “home” on military personnel and their families, and discuss the effects of walking from a war setting back into a family setting. For our military, “Home” can be anywhere – a house in the Heartland, the cramped quarters of a ship, an embassy on foreign soil, or the front lines of a war zone. But how does this ever-changing “home” affect our troops and their families? In a war zone, how important is it to create a home environment, and what does it take to accomplish this?

Whether it is a time of war or a time of peace, the home setting for military personnel and families is anything but ordinary, and anything but stress-free. While in many ways their homes resemble those of any civilian family – photos, mementos, notes on the refrigerator – how many of us can glance around our homes and find empty ammunition clips, mud-caked combat boots, and “cammies” (camouflage uniforms)? Add to that the variety of settings in which military personnel and families find themselves – temporary housing (i.e. a hotel room), base quarters, foreign countries, and, of course, the war zone – and it seems they have a knack for “setting up house” anywhere.

Said one military spouse, “It is not uncommon to find yourself moving three times within two to three years at a single duty station. The first ‘home’ is usually a hotel room, while you await permanent housing. The second ‘home’ is typically temporary housing, which is whatever shelter you can find as quickly as possible to get you out of the cramped hotel room. This is usually a much-too-small apartment. Finally, you move to your third, and ‘permanent,’ home – either base housing or an apartment that can accommodate your family and belongings. By the time you move into your ‘permanent’ home you sometimes wonder if you should even unpack.”

While setting up house is one thing, creating a home is quite another. One of the greatest challenges of military life is the ever-changing setting. Imagine packing up and moving every three years, with no control over when or to where you are moving. During times of war, moving is even more frequent when the servicemember must deploy to combat. If, as the adage goes, home is where the heart is, how do they find the comfort and peace that home brings, if “home” is always changing?

One fundamental element that defines our sense of “home” is a sense of familiarity – family, close friends, daily routines, even foods. While transferring to a military base overseas can be exciting, it is also a very stressful experience. Suddenly, everything familiar is gone, replaced by a foreign culture, a language you may not understand, unfamiliar customs, and virtually no support structure.

For the children, especially those with a parent in a combat zone, this is exceptionally challenging, as Army General B.B. Bell points out, “What these youngsters have in an overseas environment is really themselves. That’s how they get through the day – trying to figure out what they can do for themselves…to be normal in this life.” With the core ingredient of “home” absent in this environment, how do military families adjust and embrace this new, foreign setting as home?

Of course, the most challenging setting military personnel face is that of the war zone. While most of us might wonder how it could be possible to make the Green Zone in Baghdad, or any combat theatre, feel like home, military leaders and troops in every war have tried, in sometimes very creative ways, to do just that, at least in relative terms. But how exactly do you go about making a home with a war raging around you and your family so far away, and what is the psychological impact of the ideal of home? We went to the military veterans themselves to get the answers. Don’t miss this important and fascinating episode of If These Walls Could Talk, airing Thursday, March 2, 2006 at 6:00 PM (EST) on the VoiceAmerica™ Channel (

If These Walls Could Talk is the world’s first and only show devoted to uncovering the hidden ways that setting affects how you feel, think and act. Each week host Katherine Morris reveals the mysterious influence of unusual and not-so-unusual settings, and shows you how to make your setting work for you.

Katherine Morris, Host of If These Walls Could Talk, and Founder of Psychology of Setting Associates, is an analytically oriented psychotherapist who is devoted to the betterment of peoples’ lives and the environment. Through a melding of depth psychology, environmental psychology, and Feng Shui, Katherine brings excitement as she leads her listeners to a better understanding of their conscious and unconscious motivations by examining the emotional effects of the settings in which they live and work.


Katherine Morris



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