A word of advice: Stock up on tissues before sitting down to watch OWN’s new reality series “Married to the Army: Alaska,” because it will definitely (probably) make you cry your eyes out.
It’s hard not to get emotional when thinking of the sacrifices soldiers make when signing up to serve their country, but not as many people think about the sacrifices their spouses and children make too.
At the 2012 Television Critics Association summer press tour, “Married to the Army” star Rynn Randall tears up when discussing the sacrifices she and her family have had to make because of her husband’s career. “I just want America to know it’s not just the soldiers who serve, it’s
me, it’s our kids. It’s my daughter, whose dad misses her going to her
junior prom,” she says of why she signed up to do the show. “It’s those things that I don’t think everybody thinks
That said, she knew what she was in for when she got married to an Army major. While her husband was home on his most recent two-week leave, they reminded their children that they aren’t victims. “We have chosen this life, even though you kids didn’t choose it. This is something we’re proud of,” they told their kids.
Producer Stephanie Drachkovitch says that she grew up an Army brat, and she began planning the series, which follows army wives in Alaska while their husbands are deployed in Afghanistan, back in 2007 because she felt like news coverage about the war was blurring together.
“As a kid who grew up in it, I kept feeling like we’re only hearing half the story,” she explains. “We’re only seeing the men in camo. They’ve got their helmets on, they’re in camo, and they all just start to melt into one soldier. We’re not seeing the families left behind, the wives left behind who are running their families.”
Blair Flannagan, whose staff sergeant husband is currently deployed, says she feels the same way.
“Because the war has been going on for such a long time, I think that for
the most part the American public has developed somewhat of a
disconnect from the military. That’s the nasty truth of it,” she says. “This show
allows viewers to see real families that are going through this and to
realize that this war is nowhere near being over and it’s very real for
all of us.”
She tears up. “Every day, we have to consider the fact that perhaps our
husbands won’t be coming home and the challenges that we face every day
right now might be permanent.”
“Married to the Army: Alaska” premieres this fall on OWN.