“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
I became a Veteran’s wife the day I got married, although it didn’t mean as much back then. My husband was not Active Duty at that time and the Army was a part of his past. Still, it was in the back of my head.
Fast forward three years later and I became an Army wife as my husband re-enlisted and he started the 2nd part of his Army career. These days, he is a member of the National Guard. He is a Veteran and that makes me a Veteran’s wife.
Veterans Day is always so emotional for me. Not just because of who I am married to but also because of all the other Veterans and their spouses who have come before us. All the men and women who have served and those who stood beside them. Veterans Day is a day to remember them and to thank those that are still with us.
The Veteran’s spouse is not a new role. As long as there have been people who are willing to sign up to join the Military, there have always been spouses who have stood beside them. They stood by as their husbands or wives went off to war.
Whether that meant fighting against another American in the Civil War, going to Europe during the World Wars, staying behind as they headed to Korea or Vietnam, or the “modern” Veteran’s spouse who watched their spouse join up during a time of war and knowing they would most likely be headed over to Iraq and Afghanistan fighting a war that might never really end.
Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”
– Abraham Lincoln
We are strong, we have to be. We have to be there for our spouses. Stand behind them and be their rock. Through peacetime and wartime. Through a PCS or goodbye for a two-week training. Some have had to say goodbye and were not able to say hello again. Their spouse did not return. Some have stood by when they did return but as a different person.
Some have had to walk away from their marriage, some have stayed.
Some have stood by for 20+ years of Active duty life, others only needed to fill that role for a few years before their spouse moved on to a different career.
“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, who gave us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
–Charles M. Province
Military Spouses are strong not because we are made of something else. We are strong because we have to be. Because history wanted us to fill this role and we decided we could do it.
Being a Veteran’s spouse can mean a lot of different things. It always means that there is a story behind your spouse’s career and time in the Military. We don’t know all of it. We only know what they tell us but we do know there is so much more they could never share.
As a Veteran’s spouse, I belong to a community of people who are doing what I have done. Whether it was in the 1940s and all they got from their soldier was a letter in the mail to those who can video chat every day.
We might all have had different types of experiences but one thing is clear, we are the spouses of those who have signed up to serve their country. We are the ones left behind and the ones they come home to. We are a part of history and we will always be there to help those who come after us.