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Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring Heroes

Franks-Homecoming Veterans Day is a pretty big deal at our house. As I write this, my husband is attending a ceremony at Marquette honoring veterans, and our boys went off to school talking about how important it is to serve your country. My husband and I were raised in families who serve, albeit by being public school educators rather than military. Our fathers served in the military, along with other members of our families, but their careers and lives were devoted to education. That ethic of service to others was ingrained, and I hope we’re passing it along to our children.

My husband has been in the Army for over 24 years, counting the reserve time he served in college and his career since. We’ve lived an amazing life, which I know is a mystery to our families, none of whom have moved anywhere near as many times as we have. Our eldest child is 8 and is living in his fifth house; attending his fifth school (counting preschool…he’s not repeating kindergarten over and over!). Our lifestyle is challenging, but we make the most of it and wouldn’t change it for the world. Well, maybe those 3 long deployments could be omitted in a perfect life.

The scrapbook page above show his last homecoming from a deployment. He’s been home a year and half, which has flown by. We know he won’t be deployed for the next 2 years while he’s recruiting, and that is an immeasurable stress-reliever. Who knows what will follow this assignment, but for now, we’ll take what time we can together. By the way, his homecoming was at 0400 (that’s 4:00 a.m.), so none of us look our most alert…and we’d been sitting in the gym, watching the soldiers at the airfield on video screens, for about 2 hours before we were reunited. But it was all totally worth it…I’m not complaining! Just explaining our bleary eyes.

My husband loves what he does…his assignments have ranged from combat arms (he’s a field artilleryman) to teaching to his current recruiting position. I love Army wife-hood…the friends, the shared experiences, the adventures in every new assignment.

I think our kids are better for it…they’ve learned to make friends quickly, and that when you say goodbye, it’s not forever. We have a huge Army family that is always there to support us, when our actual families are too far away. When we get a new assignment, we’re sad to leave our duty stations (even the worst geographically speaking) but know we’ll keep in touch with friends we’ve made.

Our current assignment is our toughest yet, in my opinion. We live “on the economy” as we say in the Army…the closest post is about 3 hours away, so we’re in the civilian world without our Army family nearby. We’ve brought a whole new perspective to our children’s school…they’ve never had an active duty military family here. At my kindergartener’s birthday party, people were very inquisitive as to “how we do it.” We forget, in our Army world, that only 1% of the population has or will serve, and that most people can’t relate to our lifestyle.

I read a blog yesterday that was probably the best I’ve seen regarding Army wives. And I’m not talking about the TV show…we really don’t live like that! I’m not blog-savvy enough to just put the name of it here, but if you want to check it out, here’s the link:

Veteran’s Day makes me a little melancholy…thinking of friends who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and the families they leave behind, who continue to make sacrifices every day. They are in my thoughts daily, but especially on Veterans Day.

I’m in awe of soldiers like my husband, who continue to make small sacrifices every day, without complaining. I’m honored to have been his partner in this Army life, and thank God that Americans like my husband are ready and willing to serve our country. They are all true heroes.

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