Every year around Veteran’s Day, I think about my husband and the time he has served. I think about the time we lived out of a hotel for almost 60 days because our housing was not available yet. I also think about the time we sat in Vatican City sipping on an eight Euro Pepsi! I think about all of the good times we spent traveling and the time I had my youngest in a Belgian Hospital. I mean was that our life?? YES! Then there are days where I sit and think about his experience.
Some days my husband will just sit in silence for hours. On these days I start to wonder what he is thinking about. Could it be that he remembers something from his four deployments? I don’t ask but I am always willing to listen. As a military spouse we learn to not ask some of the obvious questions. On these days my husband will watch movies all day usually action packed movies…or documentaries on past Veterans. My husband will clean and organize the garage for hours. He will listen to music all day and stay in his thoughts. Maybe I am sharing too much or maybe I am not. I can’t imagine myself in his shoes or his sand covered boots shall I say.
I consider my husband to be one of the lucky ones. He has survivor’s guilt. I see it in his eyes. He has seen so much more in his life than most men twice his age. What amazes me the most about my husband is his strength. I don’t say it enough. As a military spouse we only experience a small part of the military life. We stay back to take care of our homes when our soldier goes off to war. We take care of our kids. We stay up hoping for a phone call or email. We also jump any time someone comes knocking at the door and we watch all of the cars that drive by hoping no one stops right in front. Sometimes we as military spouses try and forget these moments and we try and focus on the good ones as much as we can.
My husband has served for 17 years now. It has not always been easy being married to a soldier. He is a military police officer and that caused for a lot of time apart. I resented him for being able to hang out with other adults. Sounds trivial and at that time we had just been married for a few months with a newborn. Did I mention we were also living in a foreign country where I did not know the language? I resented him for being away. I know that as a military spouse, we should be used to this. It never got any easier. What has changed my mind set is thinking about everything my husband gave up. He gave up time with us and his newborn. He gave up time away from his young daughter. He missed out on so much.
I am so proud of my husband and our life. We don’t live the post life. We don’t see soldiers in uniform that often anymore. We hardly visit post. It is not because we don’t want to, we just don’t live near and my husband works off post. I am happy that the Army has helped us build a wonderful life together. It has helped us raise our children. I get a warm feeling every time I see my husband in uniform. When he is in his dress uniform…I am proud on how well put together it is. The medals speak volumes. I am in no way bragging here, I am only speaking on how much history and accomplishments are on his uniform. He wears it proudly.
Loving a veteran is so much deeper than what I mentioned above. I cry at the National Anthem. I cry at Veteran’s Day assemblies and parades. I cry because of the sacrifice these men and women have endured. I cry because some Veterans did not make it home. I cry for their spouses who are forced to move on without them. I cry for the children without their parents. I cry for those who will forever suffer because of their memories. I cry because some of my friends have had to go through that. I cry because my husband does.
Any time you get a chance to meet a veteran, shake their hand. Thank them for their service. I recently ran into two older gentleman whom are veterans that were at my kids’ soccer banquet. They pointed out my husband and asked which branch he was serving in. I said Army and he joked and said, “yeah I can tell.” “I am a veteran myself, having served in the Airforce,” he said and “my grandson’s other grandpa over there served in the Navy.” He went and shook my husband’s hand and thanked him for his service. I thought “wow sir, we should be thanking you,” in which we did. The camaraderie between military veterans is so amazing, even through multiple generations!
I want to thank my husband and all of the Veterans who have served, past and present. Thank you for your sacrifice and willingness to serve our country.
Loving a veteran is not always easy but I would do it all over again, one million times over.