November 11, 2011

Soldiers' Honor

When I was young, Veteran's Day meant little more than a day off from school or some kind of patriotic assembly. I did not know people in the military, had never watched anyone in my life go off to war. One grandfather had served a short time in the army, but rarely spoke of his experiences in anything more than funny anecdotes of cold nights spent in a pup tent. I knew so little about the military, its culture, or its way of life.
I never dreamed that I would one day learn more than I ever cared to know about the army. That one day I would memorize ranks and acronyms, learn how to disassemble a uniform for the laundry and then put it back together, hold my husband's hand through a briefing on how to survive deployment. I never dreamed I would live in a home where boots sit by my front door, a framed commissioning certificate is proudly displayed in the living room, and a blue star flag hangs in my front window. That I would become all-too-familiar with the loneliness and terror that accompanies every moment when someone you love is serving his country. I never dreamed that I would be a military wife, that I would give my heart away to a soldier. 
Even though this part of my life was never planned, never requested, and is never easy, it is something that I have come to realize that I would not trade for the world. The military lifestyle can be tedious, frustrating, and frightening, but I have learned that it can simultaneously be rewarding and fulfilling. The army has allowed Dan and I to form unparalleled friendships, given us once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and constantly strengthened our own relationship. I am comforted knowing that the military and its members are always there to honor Dan and support both of us.
My husband is not just my best friend but my hero, the bravest person I know. He completes the most difficult of jobs with incredible courage, and always puts the needs of his men before himself. He sits halfway around the world in a war zone, and yet he never complains about the conditions, his overwhelming responsibilities, or his exhaustion. He is the epitome of an American soldier: strong and stoic, dedicated to his mission, his family, and his country. I am more proud of him than I can put into words, and I miss him more than I ever imagined I could miss anyone. I am honored to be his wife, and to be a military wife: although it is the hardest job I have ever taken, it is one that I am infinitely proud to hold.




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