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Monday, October 16, 2006

To All of You Military Spouses

I have posted this before:

Thank You to Military Spouses
My husband wrote this commentary for the Ft Carson Paper back in December. With all the soldiers leaving our mountain post I thought it appropriate to revisit.Commentary by Pfc. Clint Stein Mountaineer staff

Many people have heard the old saying “there are only two things that are certain in life, death and taxes,” but for those in the military there is a third — sacrifices. During recent and past years we have heard so much about the sacrifices made by men and women serving in our military, but what we don’t seem to hear a lot about are the sacrifices made by theirspouses. Behind every married servicemember there is a spouse who provides an equal or even greater service. They are the support system of the family. They are an intricate part of what holds their military familytogether. They are the backbone. More than half of military servicemembers are married and with that brings sacrifices, especiallyduring deployments. No one ever wants to be separated from his loved ones, but for those of us in uniform it’s sometimes part of our duty and we proudly accept it. For those spouses left behind they accept it too,but with gracious reluctance. When a spouse sees her husband packing his things for deployment, they may start to feel vulnerable and empty inside and can only pray for his quick and safe return. She may even cry and get weak in the knees as she watches him kiss his children for what could possibly be the last time, but she remains strong and proud — she has to. When Soldiers are deployed their spouses take on a different role in the family. They become both mother and father, providing both the tender love and care for their children as well as upholding the rules of the house. They are the accountant, teacher, cook, coach, carpenter and protector of the family. They become the provider, at least for the next six months to a year. While a Soldier is deployed, many people don’t take the time to consider the trials and tribulations that still go on in everyday lives of military families. Just because a Soldier is gone doesn’t mean life gets any easier for his spouse. On the contrary, it gets much more difficult. The spouse must now handle the responsibility and workload of two, while not burdening her loved one with the everyday stress she feels because of what effects it may have on him as he tries to focus on his mission abroad. The very same mission she is reminded of every night before going to bed without him. Aside from the worried and lonely nights a spouse spends away from her or his trooper and the extra chores a spouse has to endure, she or he may have made a personal sacrifice just by marrying into the military. Many spouses out there, like my wife, had careers before becoming a military spouse. Some still do, but for many it’s hard to have a long-term career when they don’t know if they’ll be moving to another duty station or if their spouses will be deploying. It takes a lot of courage and trust in a Soldier for his or her spouse to put their careers on hold for a while, and married couples should recognize that commitment. These spouses know, just as the Soldier knows, that when they joined the military, sacrifices would have to be made, personally and professionally. Their lives change and they must give up much of what they once had in order to conform to the military way of life. It’s not a bad life, just a different one. Since I joined the Army I have been thanked for my service to our country on many occasions and many times with my family standing right at my side, and yet there was no acknowledgement to my wife. Except for Spouse Appreciation Day once a year and the occasional second mention at a promotion or reenlistment, our spouses rarely hear the words, “Thank you for your service.” Our military spouses have provided so much for so many Americans who can’t always see the military way of life from the outside. They have given tremendous sacrifices in order for their loved one to provide the freedom our nation holds so dear and for that we should commend them on a regular basis. Servicemembers and civilians alike should look deeper into the military family and realize there is an honorable service being provided, one that sometimes goes unnoticed. It’s the day-to-day service our military spouses provide. Whether it’s big or small, it’s important. As a Soldier and a husband, I salute my wife and all military spouses for the sacrifices they have made not only for me, but also for our country.Thank you for your service.

 

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