Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ode to the Military Spouse

With it being the beginning of Military Appreciation Month and Month of the Military Spouse, I look back at the 11 years I have been married to my sailor. It wasn't a lifestyle I would have thought I would be living. But here I am.

Military Spouses, have been around for centuries. As longs as there has been a military established, there have been the people who love them. Think back to the Ancients.Greeks, Roman, Egyptians and the Persians and many others. They all went off to work to conquer new lands or to fight off invaders. Imagine those spouses, not even knowing if their husbands have lived or died in battle, unless a messenger was sent back to report battle news and causalities. That has got to be a rough life to live.

Even when I look back at the lives of  military spouses during the past 200 years or so. Its still has to take guts to love the uniformed person.At least in the last 200 years the art of letter writing was perfected. The rate of travel these letter got faster and faster. But still waiting months just to hear from a loved one, would hurt anyone's heart. Spouses had so much riding on their husbands back then. As Women, they weren't allowed to vote and didn't have the rights as a man. So if you lost your husband to war, you were stuck. You had children to raise and a life to live in a society that didn't give you the rights as your husband. Life was not easy.

The 20th Century open up the doors for women. We got the right to vote. We got the right to establish ourselves within a Man's world. The 20th Century also brought two major World Wars. WWI, the War to end all Wars brought Military Spouses from all over to support the uniformed services in one War. From the Battlefields of Europe came letters telling of the flowers that grow to the horrific day to day in the trenches. Spouses supported from home. They still loved their returning men, broken but still alive. WWII, my grandmother's generation, we saw more spouses out there pulling that working man's weight. They were in the factories contributing to the war effort. We saw them in the War Offices. Still it was a time where communication, had gotten better, but waiting to hear from a loved one still took some time. Spouses still kept the house running, raising children and the continuing support of their servicemen. It had to be tough to go so long without seeing or sometimes even hearing from your spouse.

It wasn't until 1948 when women were allowed to join the Military, when the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act was signed by congress. where we saw our Military Husbands. Not a lot as the Military was still a Man's domain. But with women now allowed to serve, we had military husbands. With more women joining up between 1948 and modern day, the number of husbands grew.

The Modern day Military Spouse is just that. Modern. We have better communication. We have more support out there. I see the Military Spouses of the past as our trailblazers. They made some of the services we have today possible. They endured so much more than we did. But those who are still alive and remember, know that its not an easy life. They understand that loving and supporting someone who proudly serves their country is difficult. I am always very humbled to sit down and listen to the Veterans and their spouses. There is always two stories. The war stories and the stories from back home. So when we thank the Veterans for their service, if their spouse is with them, thank them as well.

I can proudly say that when I said "I do" 11 years ago, I joined the ranks of some pretty awesome people and to them, I salute them. They have given me some perspective. They have understood my frustrations. Most of all they have understood this love I have for my sailor.

Gram, this one is for you. Thank you.