Veteran’s Day: I Am Thankful for the U.S. Army

Today is Veteran’s Day. A day to show our appreciation and respect to members of the United States Military. I am so thankful to live in America and for the service and sacrifice of generations of military men and women. For all veterans currently serving, thank you for your continued service and dedication to our nation and its citizens.

For the month of November I am doing a series on thankfulness. It will be a little more personal, but hopefully will give you a peek into my heart and life. Today, on Veteran’s Day, I am thankful for the United States Army.

In 2010, my husband was four courses into his Master’s degree. One day he came home asking how I would feel about him joining the military. He expected me to say, “Absolutely not,” and that would be the end of the discussion. I had always said I could never be a military wife or pastor’s wife, so imagine his surprise when I said, “Yeah! Let’s do that!” In 2012, my husband left for U.S. Army basic training and our new Army life began. The past five years have been ones of growth, separation, relocation, and fulfillment.

Growth: I am thankful for the United States Army for allowing my family to grow. We have three wonderful boys and have no fear of being able to provide for them. We have a roof over our heads, food in the pantry, and clothes in our closets. Being homebodies, Army life has forced personal growth to explore new places and meet new people. As an Army wife, I have grown in independence and responsibility during times of solo parenting. As an introvert, I have socially grown to prevent isolation and depression. For all these areas of growth and more, I am thankful for the United States Army.

Separation: I am thankful for the United States Army for providing times of separation, during which I learned that distance truly does make the heart grow fonder. Before entering the military, my husband and I had never spent a night apart. It was four years of marriage before we spent a single night away from each other. We have since been separated many nights due to overnight duty, field trainings, selection courses, pre-deployment trainings, and a deployment. Instead of allowing these times to weaken our relationship, my husband and I have purposefully aimed to strengthen our relationship. You know when you get into a relationship rut and you find yourself going through the motions with little excitement? We have fallen into those ruts. But separation allows time for appreciation of things long forgotten. When he returns after being away, I take in his scent and a decade of memories rush through my mind. I appreciate how his hand fits mine in such a familiar way. I realize how tense my shoulders have become from literally bearing the weight of our family alone while he was away, and how much he is able to lighten that load. I remember just how quirky we both are and how we work so well together, because in his absence no one understands my references or my jokes. Being apart makes the ordinary of everyday seem extraordinary when it has been lacking. I am thankful for the United States Army and the renewal of my marriage through times of separation.

Relocation: I am thankful for the United States Army because we have had the opportunity to live in so many different areas. The old me would have said that 100% sarcastically, but the older and wiser me has learned to count the blessings in a situation and not focus on the negatives. We have relocated four times with the military. Each of these moves was to different parts of the country with different cultures and climates. I grew up in the Midwest and know all about beautiful autumns and harsh winters. I now have a better understanding of tornado alley, southern culture, and humid summers. I have grown accustomed to seeing armadillos on the side of the road and have developed a taste for sweet tea. I have learned a new form of kindness and hospitality from my southern neighbors and my community has expanded to people from all over the country and world. With social media, it is easy to maintain contact with friends when the next relocation comes. I have learned to lean in quickly to new relationships and not miss out on the blessings waiting at our new home. At each post I have made strong connections and lasting friendships and I am so very thankful for the United States Army for bringing us together.

Fulfillment: I am thankful for the United States Army and the life fulfillment it has created for my husband and myself. My husband has been very successful in his military career. It has been such a privilege to see him work hard toward his goals and develop as a leader. He enjoys his work and takes pride in what he does. I find fulfillment in being able to stay home with our boys, which was always an important goal for our family. I have been able to nurture our boys and provide stability for them when the Army dictates so many other areas of our lives. I am so fulfilled in mothering and homemaking and am so thankful to the Army for allowing me this opportunity.

We have thoroughly enjoyed Army life and are proud to support our country in this way. It is a great privilege to live in America. I am exceptionally proud of my husband for serving and am thankful for men like him who value this nation and are willing to fight to protect and preserve the freedoms we enjoy.

Thank you, veterans, for sacrificing your time and comfort to defend our country. Thank you, Matt, for serving America and our family.

God Bless America.

 

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