Friday, May 11, 2012

The Silent Ranks

The most amazing people I know are the ones serving our country in silence. They serve countless hours supporting our country and rarely are recognized for their contributions and sacrifices. Less than one percent of our country serves in the military and that number does not include military spouses. In my opinion, when you marry into the military you are committing to serving our country too.

When I married Chaz in 2001, his First Sargent looked at me and said, "If the US Army wanted Allen to have a wife, they would have issued it at basic training." He wasn't kidding and I learned very quickly that he was right. I learned that I had to accept that I had to cherish the days the Army let me have Chaz and be willing to let go of the days the Army claimed. Chaz was the Army's first and mine second.

The hardest thing I had to do as an Army wife was give birth to Deryn with my mom by my side because the Army ordered Chaz to Korea without me. Many, many other wives can tell you their stories that are like mine. We have so many stories of special moments that we had to tell our husbands about over the phone or when they returned. We can show you all the pictures and videos we took so our husbands could enjoy the moments as well. Chaz calls them secondhand memories and we've collected a lot of them over our thirteen years together.

Thanks to our years of silent service, military wives can add a long list of qualifications to add to our resumes. We are wives, mothers, teachers, counselors, bankers, plumbers, electricians, event planners and so much more. I really don't think there is an end to that list. Military families are asked to endure so much. We are asked to just deal with what ever the military throws our way and we do. We just roll with it. We may not like it, but we roll with it anyway.

Out of respect for our husbands, we fight next to them silently. We allow our husbands to do their jobs. We allow them to come home and fill us in on what's next. Just like our amazing husbands, we are always ready to answer the call to fight.

We will fight because the vows we took on our wedding day, we actually took their meaning to heart. We will fight because the person we married is the love of our life. We will fight because we want to make it to our happily ever after together. We will fight to hurry up to get things done only for the military to make us wait. We will prepare our families for another move, deployment, training or what ever the military throws our way. We will be there to support our families through the consequences of war, because that's what we do.

Not everyone can be a military wife. To be able to stand in our ranks you must be willing to sacrifice when necessary and never be afraid to answer that call. You have to be able to love and accept someone unconditionally. You have to be their rock and/or their safe place to fall at a moment's notice. You must know that your life can change with a few pieces of paper or in my case with one step taken in the wrong place. You must be willing to give up half of your heart upon demand and then wait patiently for it to return to you. Being a military spouse is the toughest job in the military. Our troops may be fighting the wars, but we are the ones picking up the pieces and putting them all back together.

I am so proud to have so many military spouses among my friends. I look at them as sisters in a very large sorority and camo is our color. I am proud to stand and fight with them everyday. Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. If you can find one of them and just say thank you. You might just make someone's day!

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