As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband and I got married very young; I was 18 and he was 20. The reason we were able to get married so young is because he joined the United States Air Force at 18 and so by 20 he already had a stable income and was able to buy us a house. Let’s just say I was a little naive at 18, not only was I completely blind to how hard marriage really is, I had NO idea how hard it would be to be a military spouse. Wow.
Jeremy was deployed for about 5 months, landing perfectly over our first anniversary. So there I was, 19, newly married and living with my parents –again. We decided it would be best if I went home for the summer so I wasn’t all alone in Oklahoma. Again, wow.
My husband is incredibledibly smart, and was part of the intelligence crew on a large surveillance plane. Because of the sensitive nature of his job, he could tell me next to nothing about what he did. To this day I still have no idea what my husband really did while in the Air Force. So while he was deployed overseas we had pretty much nothing to talk about. Add into the mix spotty Skype reception, days without contact from him, high strung emotions, and you can probably understand why it was one of the hardest summers of my life. And that was just while he was deployed. He came back with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder, had trouble sleeping, and a few other physical difficulties. The war didn’t stay overseas where it belonged; it came right home with him and joined our family for a time.
I think one of the worst parts was the comments from people; “Oh, your husband is deployed? Is that hard?” The condescending way people would talk to me was stomach churning. “Five months? Oh that’s not that long, you’ve only got a few weeks left.” But it doesn’t matter if we only had a few days left; all it takes is one day, one moment, and he may not be coming home.
I remember one occasion when I was waiting a Skype call from Jeremy. I hadn’t talked to him in a day or two, and he’d told me he’d be on at a certain time so we could talk. I waited for hours for his icon to blink green on Skype. It didn’t. I rationalized that he probably just forgot, so I left a message and went to bed. The next morning I waited agin. Nothing. This continued for three days. By that point I was literally frantic, I hadn’t received a single message from him telling me he was okay, my mind was going wild with worry. Then on the fourth morning my cell phone rang; the title that flashed across the screen was ‘Tinker Air Force Base Operator’, I almost immediately started crying. A friend had told me that the only reason that Base would ever call you was to tell you that your loved one was dead. I almost didn’t answer the phone, when I finally answered with a sniffling “Hello?”, and heard my husband’s voice come across the line I completely lost it; “Hunnie, I’m okay.”
He’d received special permission to call using a phone and was patched through the base to talk to me. I can’t even tell you what I felt in that moment. Knowing he was okay was the biggest relief I’d ever experienced.
My point in writing this post is to remind you not to forget; don’t forget the brave men and women who are sacrificing so much to keep you safe and free. It is an impossibly hard job and the members of the United States Miliatry give so much of themselves on a daily basis, and I think the worst part is most of the time they go unappreciated. People dishonor them, our political leaders don’t support them, and sometimes they come back from war zones scorned rather than hailed as the heroes they are.
Don’t forget as you down another Coke and chow on hot dogs that it’s because of their sacrifice that you’re able to enjoy your civil liberties today. This day is much more important than an extra day off work; don’t belittle it.
I am so proud to be the wife of a Veteran. And I will always choose to support our troops whether or not I agree with the politics surrounding war. They are heroes and deserve to be loved and respected.