The following is a speech I gave a couple of years ago for a Military Spouse Appreciation Day luncheon at Ft. Hood, Texas. Every Friday before Mother’s Day, since 1984 when President Ronald Reagan made it so, is Military Spouse Appreciation Day! So, since only a room full of 300 Spouses got to hear it that day, here it is again. (Full disclosure, I did post this on my Facebook page that year, too. So maybe another 30 or so people “Liked” my remarks or commented on it. But such is my love and admiration for our MilSpouses, and Army Spouses, especially, that I decided to share it here, too, for “all the world” to see!) That year, 2016, my own Soldier was in the midst of a year long deployment to Iraq in command of Operation Inherent Resolve.
I want to say thank you for your service to our Soldiers- to your Soldier- no matter where he or she may be serving currently. And thank you for being the strength and love on which that Soldier continues to rely!
I have been doing this for a long time and have had the honor and privilege of serving beside Army Spouses throughout. For going on 32 years. I know how special you are, I know how deserving you are of special recognition, and I know how happy I am, and how proud I am, to be counted among your number! I am proud of how resilient you are, how self-reliant, how willing to do for others in their times of need. How do I know this? Because I know Army families. Thank you for all you do for yourselves to keep your own family strong, and for what you do for others when they are struggling.
No matter how much older than you I may be, or how much more senior my husband may be (and he IS a LOT older!) than your Soldier, you, dear Spouses, and I are peers in that we each have that love for our Soldier and an understanding that is unique to us because of common experiences and common concerns: for our Soldiers, our children, for our country, and so often, when they deploy, for people in other parts of the world.
There’s a Billy Joel song entitled “You’re My Home” and the lyric says that “wherever we’re together, that’s my home.” Which I find beautiful and, as Military Spouses, we would probably agree with that statement. The singer goes on to sing, “Home is just another word for you,” as he speaks to his beloved. I have always thought that this song is perfect for MilitarySpouses. We’re always most content when we’re together with our Spouse. That’s how we’re meant to be. We as Spouses need to be supportive of and should be grateful for the Soldiers we married. We need to remember that their time away is as tough on them as it is on us. Maybe it’s a different burden to carry, but it is not any easier. In marriage, I believe that both Spouses are supposed to give 100%. And we should do so lovingly and without keeping score. Love is wanting the best for the one you love. In my estimation, anything less is not true love.
Our Soldiers are in a profession that often takes them away from us and while we are supportive and proud of them, it does not make their absences any more pleasant, although the reasons should make the separations more bearable.
I always reminded our children, now grown, when their father deployed that he wanted nothing more than to be home with us. But he had a duty to his country and then to others who needed his help. It always made them, even as little kids, more understanding of his absences. Both of them believe in the idea of living for something greater than themselves, as evidenced by their adult decisions to join the Army (our son) or to join it by marriage to a Soldier (our daughter). I believe their dad has that duty still and so that is why I continue to support my Soldier and my children in their pursuits for the good of others.
The Army life is about sacrifice and thinking of others before yourself.
That is so often asked of our Soldiers. Too often, in many cases. I know I don’t have to tell you that your Soldier misses you and the kids, too, when he or she is deployed. Separations are tough on our Soldiers, too.
Spouses and the children of our Soldiers are also involved in that sacrifice. We do indeed serve, too. But please remember to tell your Soldiers how proud you are of them and proud of how well they take care of your family and all those others we’ll never meet. I believe it will be very special for them to hear. And God bless them and all like them- darned too few, in my opinion.
Everyone – including our Soldiers -needs unconditional love, affirmation, andsupport. Let’s all continue to do that for one another. The U.S. Army makes the world a better place by its role in the country and in the world as a force for good. And that Army is made up of our Soldiers. Be proud of your Soldier’s part in that, and your own, as well.
Thank you for all you do every day in support of our Soldiers, our families, and our nation. And remember to thank your Soldier! I know its Military Spouse Appreciation Day. And you deserve to be thanked. But you wouldn’t be a Military Spouse if it weren’t for the person in uniform you fell in love with so remember to thank them for the selfless service they give every day. OK?
God bless ourArmy, the United States of America, and God bless each of you. Thank you.