Friday, July 4, 2008
One sunny afternoon I pulled in to Wal-Mart and found a parking space. As occasionally happens, my timing was just awkward enough that I came around the back of my car just in time to intercept another pedestrian heading for the doors. I didn't look closely at him, but my initial glance told me that he was older with a strong gait. He must've glanced my way too, because he noticed the "Marines" sticker on my car and said, "Are you in the Marines?" I smiled a little and considered saying yes, but instead opted for the truth and told him no, it's my husband who is the Marine. "Ah. Well tell him I said thank you for serving our country." To which I replied, "That's very considerate of you and yes, he deserves your thanks, but what am I? Chopped liver? Does a military wife not deserve your thanks, too? I put my wedding, my career, and my life on hold because I chose to love and support that man who's serving our country. I keep his morale high so that he doesn't become part of the statistic that Marines have the highest suicide rate of any military branch. I put up with all the crappy aspects of the military like ever-changing homecoming dates, rules that don't make sense, and moving cross-country every few years. I didn't sign a five-year contract that requires me to put up with all this; I'm voluntarily letting the Marines run my life because I know my husband needs me. My husband is the hero, but if he was here and not in Iraq he'd tell you to thank me, too, for making so many sacrifices and sticking by his side through everything we've endured together for the sake of service to our country."
Ok, so I didn't really say that whole last part, but I wanted to. When you're thanking a military hero, don't forget to also thank their spouse for persevering in a position that many could not handle. But please, do not thank me. I'm not asking for recognition from my family and friends who already know my plight...that would be a little weird. :) Next year I will no longer be a military wife, and I just hope that I won't forget the experience in years to come. And if I ever thank a military wife for her husband's service, I hope that I won't forget to thank her, too.