Sunday, November 13, 2011

So-- Why Thank A Spouse?

A friend of mine, also the spouse of an active duty Soldier, clued me in to a discussion about thanking a spouse on Veteran's Day, or any other day.  

On Veteran’s Day, we acknowledge and thank our Veterans and our active duty military members for their service.  Sometimes, I get a “thank you, too!” as a spouse.  It always makes me smile.  Sometimes it catches me off guard, because most of the time I don’t think about it.

But I appreciate the word of thanks.

And I think any spouse of a service member deserves it.

Some disagree—I’m fine with that.  That's their right.  But I’d like to explain why it is important to acknowledge these spouses.

I am the spouse of an active duty Soldier. 

I don’t sleep in a tent.

I don’t carry a gun.

I don’t get multiple vaccinations for God-knows-what.

My life is not going to be on the line.

I am not given orders that I must obey without flinching. 

While my behavior can reflect positively or poorly on my Soldier, I will not get formal reprimands for the people I talk to or the way I look.

So…why thank a spouse?  What do we do?

We’re the ones who help the Soldiers stay focused. 

We bring them back from the brink, when no one else is close enough to see how much they hurt.

We give them something to come back to, a reason to fight in the first place.

We hug them, when the world is so cold.

We keep their finances and their homes and their lives running—so they can focus on staying alive. 

While the average citizen is sleeping comfortably, we are up all night talking to our Soldiers. 

Or simply up all night, praying.  Because there has been a blackout of all communications.

Or up all night, bathing a child who has the stomach flu and only wants their other parent.  

You know, the other parent who is protecting the country.

How is this different from being a single parent?  Well, I addressed that in “Single Mom? Hardly” last month.

But what do we do?  What do we REALLY do, that deserves any credit?  

Let me ask you this—was the Greatest Generation only great because of the sacrifices of our military?  

No.  They were great because our grandparents did what needed to be done to fight that fight and keep things going on the homefront.  At the time, the entire country rallied around, and anyone who could serve—did so with pride.

That’s not the case now.  But I digress.

Those who keep things running so that these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines will have something worth coming home to, worth fighting for, well—we wage a battle of our own.

We fight against depression, darkness, and the boredom of those who forget that we are still a nation at war.

We fight against the ignorance of those who say “it’s no big deal”.  I’ve heard that “it’s no big deal” that they’re deployed.  I’ve heard that “it’s no big deal,” that I’m just doing a wife’s “duty”. 

To some extent, I agree that it’s a wife’s duty.  I’m just old-fashioned enough to think that yes, I should do whatever it takes to support my husband and keep the house running.

But, lest the rest of the world might forget, we are the ones who remember.  

These men and women are not doing this just to take care of their families.  

They are not doing this for the paycheck.  

They are not doing this for personal gain.  

They are bearing the burden for the rest of the country—and we are helping to make sure they can do continue to do it.

So, yes.  Thank a vet.  And if you know the spouse, tell them “thank you for sharing your Soldier”.   

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