An Army/West Point mom angry about orange beards


On the afternoon of November 5, 2009, I called my Soldier, then a yuk at West Point to express my sympathy. A yuk (or yearling), btw, is a second year student at the United States Military Academy.  Choking back tears, I left a message on his mobile phone when I learned of the shooting at Fort Hood.

Obviously I’m a fan of hair dye. And my precious olive shoot.

Nate called me back but he didn’t know what I was talking about. He hadn’t heard the news. For some reason, I thought that since he was at West Point, this kind of news traveled through the barracks and classrooms. It hadn’t yet. I was the first person to tell him about how Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan while dressed in Army uniform entered the Soldier Readiness Center and killed 12 soldiers, one civilian and injured 30 other people. It was a miserable conversation, Nate wasn’t sure what to say, I was emotional, we awkwardly changed subjects unable to deal with the information. I was trying to comfort my boy and he knew nothing about it.

We all have phone calls we remember. Usually, my memories revolve around a bad phone call of someone relaying sad news. This is one of them.

Sickening in every way

Instead of calling Nate today, I’m writing. As a military mom, my radar is heightened, my ire struck. My brain thinks differently because it has no choice. Figuratively speaking, my heart even beats to a new rhythm – I have a son in the Army.

This might not be something that has grabbed your attention but I’m wondering why Nidal Malik Hassan still has a beard? Why he is allowed to have it orange? My neck gets splotchy (a sign that I am nervous or angry) every time when I hear that this monster still hasn’t shaved.

My kid now an 2nd Lieutenant in the Army could get in trouble if his hair is too long according to military standards. He told me about times when as a cadet at West Point, he told someone he needed to get his hair cut. Nate has to keep it high and tight even if his girlfriend begged him to look like Fabio!

And to add insult to injury, since Hassan is being denied henna, he has resorted to making his own hair dye. In case you haven’t heard, Hassan isn’t mixing urine with another biological product to color his stringy beard (that’s what I’d recommend), instead he’s using the juice and berries that he gets served during meals.

More neck splotches…Why are prisoners getting juice and berries? Really? Ok, we need to feed them but can’t this individual be served a bologna and bacon sandwich on vitamin depleted white bread instead? Couldn’t that juice and berries be used to feed hungry families and not served to a person who was responsible for the worst mass shooting ever at a U.S. military installation? Yes, I realize he is innocent until proven guilty under our laws but come on.

He’s still an officer in the United States Army and therefore still held to the dress and hygiene standards required by the military, right? If so, then he shouldn’t have long hair. He had short hair at the time of the shooting when he shouted “Allah Akbar” and opened fire. Dude shouldn’t have a beard either. These are things that can make a Soldier mom’s heart break and blood boil. Don’t mess with a West Point/Army mom.