Military Night Series Part 2: Taj Talks About Her Husband's Tour In Iraq
Editor’s Note: The Minnesota Lynx will hold its annual Military Night on Aug. 31 against the Tulsa Shock. Leading up to that evening, LynxBasketball.com will highlight members of the team who have family military ties. Part 2 details Taj McWilliams-Franklin’s military connection through her husband, Reginald Franklin.
Web Editorial Associate
For some members of the Minnesota Lynx, the upcoming Military Night strikes a personal chord. Not only can they show their appreciation for the military community who serves their country, but they can also take a moment to honor the people in their personal lives who served or are serving.
For Taj McWilliams-Franklin, it’s her husband, Reginald Franklin. The two met during his Iraq tour in 2006 while Taj was playing basketball overseas, and Reginald was stationed in Vicenza, Italy. Taj talked about how difficult the year was for her, in which she only got to be with her husband for 14 days. Although she had basketball to focus on, the uncertainty of what was happening with him made it a trying year.
“You're uncertain,” Taj said. “There's not a lot of communication coming out of Iraq. And I know he wasn't on the front lines, which was reassuring to me, but I don't know if anything in Iraq is really not on the front lines. I don't know if you could hide away really, in that country at that time. And this was 2006, so it wasn't as semi-stable as they say it is now.”
She said she stopped watching the news in an attempt to avoid speculating what could be happening.
“As a military wife, you kind of have to cushion and cocoon yourself from the fact that you know your husband, your spouse, your loved one is there. And there's a certain amount of insanity in thinking about all the things that could happen.”
Both of Taj’s parents also served in the military, but she said that her father’s deployment happened when she was only a baby. She now knows first-hand what her mother must have been experiencing at that time.
During Military Night, August 31, Taj hopes that all the military men and women in attendance at the game will be able to take a break from everyday stresses and enjoy a night out with their families.
The Lynx are accepting donations in any amount from now until game day, Aug. 31. To donate, call 612-673-8400 or mail donations to 600 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55403 labeled "Military Donation."
“Obviously everyone who's coming to the game is not being sent from overseas,” Taj said. “But there's always the factor of deployment over every military family—even reservists. This is the world we live in now.”
Her teammates don’t all have family connections to the military that she does, but Taj knows that this opportunity to show their appreciation for the military community will not be lost on them.
“They recognize that the military are our heroes—the true heroes, not basketball players, football players, soccer players,” Taj said. “Even though it's great sports, our true heroes are the people who will lay down their lives for our country.
“Everyone's not touched by the military personally, but they can understand and appreciate the fact that these men and women are going over there and laying down their lives. And they're happy about the opportunity to have them here and to celebrate them.”
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.