Monday, May 27, 2013

We Will Never Forget...

Memorial Day is a day I didn’t really understand until the military became part of my life. Growing up, it was just another day off school and a reason to have a barbeque. My family and I would go watch my WWII veteran grandfather march in a parade, but the actual meaning of the day went right over my head.
Now, this day means so much more to me. Now, I understand the reason we have Memorial Day. It is not just a day off of work or school. Though all the local pools seem to open Memorial Day weekend, it is not the official start of summer. Though many people gather together for picnics and barbeques and fun time together, it is not a celebration. It is a remembrance of the men and women who gave their lives for the benefit of our country. It is a time to honor their courage and bravery. This day is theirs, and they rightly deserve it.

It shouldn’t have to happen. Lives shouldn’t have to be cut short so that our country can remain strong. Families shouldn’t have to bury their loved ones. Children shouldn’t have to grow up without their mommy or daddy. But it does happen, all too often. And it is the duty of the rest of us to honor the fallen for their courage and bravery, to not let their sacrifices go unnoticed, and to remember that freedom is not free.

Today, I am so very grateful for my family. We are truly blessed to be together and to have each other. There is no guarantee in the military. There is no promise that the worst won’t happen. But together we hold our hands in faith that everything happens for a reason and that no matter what, we will be okay.
On this Memorial Day, I thank the men and women who have given their lives for our country. I honor their devotion to protecting our freedom. I thank their families for their support and send my deepest sympathy for their loss. But although the death of the fallen is mourned, the life that they lived is esteemed. They are the true heroes, and we will never forget.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Military Spouse Appreciation Day: A Letter to the Spouses

Dear Military Spouses,

For eight and a half years now, I have called myself a military wife. But I will admit, it wasn’t until about four or five years into it that I began to realize the importance that spouses play in the military community. Perhaps I was simply na├»ve, or maybe I just needed to experience the hardships of deployment before I could see how it all works. I needed to experience for myself the weight of living a life in which time continues to move on even though my husband is on the other side of the world.

We cannot stop things from breaking. We cannot stop the bills from needing to be paid. We cannot stop the kids from needing to be bathed and fed and taken to the doctor’s office. We cannot stop the loneliness of the nights or the worrying or the frustration from creeping up on us at any moment. But what we can do, despite all these things, is stay strong. We can persevere. We can remain determined to get back on our feet every time we get knocked down. And what I have seen is that military spouses simply don’t know how to fail.

When I have been down, you have lifted me up. When I have needed help, you have had my back. Even if I don’t know you, I know that I can still turn to you. You are my partners in understanding this crazy military life and figuring out how to get through it with grace, or at least a shred of decency! And even though you have your own difficulties to deal with, you are always willing to do what needs to be done to help out your fellow spouses.

It has truly been an honor and a privilege for me to call myself part of such an amazing group of people, people who know the true meaning of sacrifice, support, and strength. Whether we are minutes down the road or across the globe from each other, we are bound together by this military life. We are part of a network that not only holds up the home front, but enables our soldiers to hold their heads high and focus on their duties.

I have heard many times that a military spouse has the hardest job in the military. I prefer to give that label to our service members, but I will say that military spouses have the most advantageous job in the military. We have been given the opportunity to grow and change in ways we would not have otherwise known. We have been given experiences that can help us find the understanding in life’s lessons. We have been given a chance to bloom.

 Your Friend,
A Fellow Military Spouse   

See also Military Appreciation Month: A Letter to the Heroes and The Will of the Wife

Monday, May 6, 2013

Military Appreciation Month: A Letter to the Heroes

Dear American Soldier,

Thank you is not nearly enough to say for all that you do, yet I will say it anyway. Thank you. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for believing in our country. Thank you for your fighting for freedom. Thank you for providing a place for us to feel safe when we go to sleep at night.
You didn’t have to choose this. You didn’t have to sign up for a life which would put your country first above everything. You didn’t have to choose a career which would put your life on the line for the sake of the rest of us. But the fact that you did is remarkable. To me, this is the most honorable and heroic choice anyone can make: selfless dedication to protecting our country and what it stands for.
More and more I see our society glorifying all the wrong things—reality TV shows which highlight lifestyles that are foolish and lacking in moral values; pro-sports players who commit crimes yet are still allowed to play the game; celebrity gossip; Hollywood legends who live or have lived lives of drug abuse and alcoholism—just to name a few. But you, you who must be separated from your family for many months at a time, you who must endure hours upon hours of training to ultimately prepare yourself for battle, you who have seen the darkest depths of war, are the one who truly deserve the glory.
I am just one person in a very big nation, but I want you to know that when I think about America’s soldiers, I see courage. I see men and women standing tall and dedicating their lives to protect our land. I see a work ethic above and beyond anyone else’s reach. I see the pride that brings you together as brothers and sisters, yet the humility of knowing that you are working towards something so much bigger than yourselves. I see the vulnerability of your hearts when you must mourn those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, but I also see the immense strength you have to pick yourselves back up and fight even harder in honor of the fallen. When I think about you, I see the ultimate heroes.
As America celebrates Military Appreciation Month, I again thank you for your service. The hard work and dedication you give to the United States of America is priceless. May you forever be known for your bravery and loyalty and may God bless you in your journey as one of America’s finest. 

With Greatest Regards,
A Proud Military Wife