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What Memorial Day Means To An Army Wife

memorial_dayToday is a day to remember.

Today is a day to be grateful.

Today is a day to think about all those who have served and have died.

We are lucky, my husband and I don’t know anyone personally that was killed while serving their country. But we certainly know this is part of our life. The possibility alone is enough to hit you right in the gut.

I never thought I would be an Army Wife. I was one of those people who was anti-war, pro peace and pretty vocal about it. But when you fall in love with a soldier everything changes. And I do mean EVERYTHING.

I still hate war. It separates us from the one person we love the most. This is not like going on a business trip or working in another state. This is the worst possible separation.  It is unnatural to kiss your life partner and send them off to places unknown, that are dangerous and the communication is spotty. The longing and the loneliness are a battle in and of itself.

When I first arrived at Fort Bragg I took Army Family Team Building classes to help me understand what this whole life is about. And one of the classes was focused on what would happen if your loved one was killed in action. It was horrifying to think this could happen to my husband and even more terrible to think of all those that have lost husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons. I sat through most of the class with tears in my eyes as the Chaplain shared real stories of what he had experienced.

I am now a certified Army Care Team Volunteer. I am on call to help a spouse who has lost their soldier. We come in and provide assistance within the first 72 hours after the death. We help cook, clean, babysit and sometimes just sit with the spouse. We take care of our own until the family can.  I hope beyond hope this is never something I will need.

When my husband went on Global Readiness Force (pretty much an 8 hour recall to go anywhere in the world)  last November, we had to put things in order. We made sure we had a power of attorney, passwords and all financial matters and we planned his funeral. This is a discussion that everyone should have with their spouse but most don’t. It was the toughest conversation we have ever had as a married couple. We talked about where he wanted his funeral, if he wanted to be buried or cremated, who he wanted to officiate the service and on and on. Details you never want to think about when it comes to the person you love the most in the world.

Just recently I found out I come from a long line of military men. Two of my grandfathers, my biological father, my uncle and now my husband. I am so very proud of the service my family has given to this country.  I love this country. My husband’s choice to serve is honorable. But there is much we have to endure as a military family and as a military spouse I have many other worries in our marriage that most don’t even begin to understand.

I am a raving fan of peace. I don’t want those that have died for our freedom to have died in vane, I don’t want my family to be ripped a part for a political agenda or to make someone billions. Memorial Day is not just about barbecues and a day off from work. It is about something so much more. Please explain the sacrifices given by those who have served to your children and find a way to serve as a family.

Serve your local community.

Serve at a homeless shelter (where 1/4 are probably veterans).

Serve at church.

Your service is important in continuing to make this country better for all of us and something for our soldiers to fight and die for.

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