Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's a hard knock military life

This is a little off subject, but it is about something I hold near and dear to my heart.

It's a hard knock military life.

If you are in the military yourself, or part of a military family, you know what I am talking about.  There are deployments, separations, sacrifices, isolation, transfers, moving... saying goodbye more times than you can count....  It's not easy to say the least.

I've mentioned before that my husband is in the military, U.S. Coast Guard to be exact.  We are just getting ready for our fourth move ~ leaving the Washington DC area and heading to Georgia.  This move seems harder than the others as we have really settled in here.  We've made friends, found a church, met neighbors (that took the longest!!) and now it is time to move.... again.

The recent budget cuts on the Military's tuition assistance and other things going on in the political world have had me pondering the outsider's view on the military.  Thankfully tuition assistance for the military will no longer be cut, but this doesn't mean that other military benefits are safe from being cut in the future.

The public's attitude towards the military seems to be either very hot or very cold.  You have those who are supportive, but you also have those who think that the pay and benefits do not match the Military job title.  I'm sorry, but these are men and women putting their LIVES on the line for OUR FREEDOM.  There are suicides, divorces, mental illnesses, combat injuries, and combat deaths ~ for US!!  I firmly believe you cannot put a price on that.  Just yesterday there were three people killed on Quantico Marine Base.  This is a place I go often with my family... It was a murder/suicide situation and although the cause is still unknown (or hasn't been released), the fact remains that one Marine killed two people and then turned the gun on himself.

My husband and I just celebrated our ten year anniversary.  It has not been an easy road, but it is one that we have made.  We got married a few months before he left for basic training and immediately learned how to be "married apart."  A military marriage/relationship is completely different from that of the civilian world.  It almost becomes easier to be apart than to be together.  It is like a yo-yo back and forth between adjusting for life with the family while the military member is deployed/training and then suddenly they are back in the picture... and then yanked away again.  And the family is left fending for themselves without the support of family or friends because they just moved to a new area, are in another country, don't speak the native language... the list can go on.  

My Husband and I at the White House
(photoshopped part of his uniform out for privacy reasons)

I can count more holidays spent apart than together.  We've celebrated birthdays a month late, Christmas after New Years, and Thanksgiving the day before... all because the "needs of the service" come first.  Another issue is the negative stigma within the military population towards mental health and asking for help with relationship problems/issues.  Most end up sweeping things under the carpet rather than dealing with them... until it becomes too late.

So yes, we are able to buy items tax free at the exchange and commissary, use the USO lounge at the airport (my personal favorite :), buy cheaper gas, get 10% off discount sometimes while shopping, have medical coverage, receive tuition assistance, and use the GI Bill.... but this is ALL at the great cost of every man and woman putting their lives on the line DAILY and the CONSTANT sacrifices made of the family.

If you meet someone from the military, don't shun them because you know they are only temporary.  Rather, invest in their lives.  Open your hearts.  Invite them over for holidays because chances are they will be celebrating alone.  Offer a listening and supportive ear.  Share your local favorites and introduce them to your friends.  Be a friend... because chances are the exterior you see that looks so put together is rather the opposite.  They are most likely a facade of delicately placed puzzle pieces ready to fall apart at a moments notice.

I love my husband and I am proud of the service he gives to this country.  I know that it is a sacrifice that both he and I make for the safety and freedom of all of you.  Before you judge what  it is like from the outside, just take a minute to think about what it is like on the inside.

To all those brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, I am eternally grateful.  My heart, prayers, and tears go out to your families and children who are to continue on without you.

Solemnly Capturing the Moment,

Corrie <3

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