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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Post Veteran's Day Musings

As Veteran's Day came and went, I was a bit conflicted.

Facebook was flooded with grateful messages and well-wishes to those serving our country, and those who have served.  Fellow military spouses posted about how proud they were of their husband's service and sacrifice.  I even noticed that I had a record breaking high number of hits to my blog on Veteran's Day... an indication to me that a lot of our family and friends back home were thinking of and checking up on us.

But I felt guilty.

I don't even know the full history of Veteran's Day.  I'm going to go research it right after I post this... but I just want to be honest.  I mean, I feel guilty for everyone "thanking us" for "fighting for freedom".

First of all, to be clear, we did not join the Air Force to fight for freedom.  We joined because we needed a job and medical insurance for our growing family.  Does that sound shallow?  I don't know.  A lot of other military friends we have can say pretty much the same thing.  We didn't join for the fight, we joined for the job!

In fact, my knee-jerk reaction to Jesse's "what do you think about the Air Force" question was "HECK NO... I don't want someone telling us what to do and where to live for four years!" 

Sure, Jesse loves our country.  He's just as patriotic as the next guy.  But that's not why we joined and I feel weird sometimes about that.  Because I think the average civilian out there thinks that those in the military are all freedom-fighting heroes.

I know there are lots of guys over in Afghanistan who are actually fighting for our country.  But we are not... at least not in our day to day lives.  Jesse's job is not dangerous.  It's important to have accurate weather forecasts, so his job is definitely supporting those who do fight.  But he doesn't fight.  And it isn't likely that he will even if he goes downrange.  There are tons of jobs that need to be done in the military that, at least at first glance, don't seem to have anything to do with fighting for freedom. 

So you're welcome, I guess.  But I feel like it should be the other way around... our family should be saying thank you.  Thank you, Uncle Sam, for giving us the opportunity to live in another country.  Thank you for good healthcare.  For great base amenities and support.  For a good, stable job.

I know that every job is important.  And just like Paul explained that the body of Christ works together only when all the parts, even the smallest, are doing their job, so I know that even my humble 21st OWS Weather Forecaster is doing his part for our country.

But seriously, I hardly feel like we're the ones who should be thanked for our sacrifice, you know?


  1. I think that's very insightful... and not at all shallow. Thanks for being so honest.

  2. I completely understand how you feel. Up until recently I felt the same way but then I realized that what they sign up for- the crazy hours, the uniform, the knowledge that at any moment it will be their turn to be deployed away from their family for 7 months- all to financially secure their family, that definitely deserves a big "thank you". Having Kyle gone this Veterans day definitely made me feel different about it because like you said, he definitely didn't sign up to "fight" but now here he sits serving a mission for our country and all to make sure we have a future.

  3. I thought about this too because James always feels silly when people thank him but this is what I told him: We may have joined for different reasons and he may not being the first one into a war zone but our lives are completely different than those who are not military. Just because we have a great attitude about life and are taking advantage of the opportunity to live in Germany doesn't mean it's easy to be away from all of our family and friends. We give up our husbands and, a lot of times, our plans because of their demanding schedules. For me, especially because I am so new to all of this, the plain fact that I can't get anything in my life done without jumping through a million hoops is a sacrifice that I REALLY fought...and still fight myself fighting every time something needs to be done. haha. We lose a lot of luxuries because we are military families...so when someone thanks me for "my service" I feel like they might be thinking about the "freedoms" they have that I am giving up for the moment. There are a ton of different ways that our husbands, as well as the women standing beside them, serve their country..and they are all important!

    Please don't think I am complaining. You know I love my life...but this is why I don't feel guilty when people let me know that what we do is appreciated.

  4. thanks for sharing your heart about this Jess. Your humility and clarity of thought are evidenced throughout. And the analogy about the body of Christ is sound...and I will continue to thank the men and women (and their families ) who serve in the well-oiled (howbeit, imperfect) machinery that exists to protect this country and fight on behalf of those who do not have the ability to fight- precisely for many of the reasons you named and that Amber and Nicole listed. In general, people totally understand the sacrifice that is made to serve this country- even without a weapon in hand... and reading the news totally puts into perspective that just living in another country as a US service person/spouse can be dangerous...
    All that just to say, look in the mirror, and smile that beautiful smile, and just practice saying, "Thanks for your encouragement! And you are welcome- it's an amazing opportunity." Oh, and thanks, Jess, for supporting JesseD while he serves and for supporting spouses of others who serve, and for supporting others who serve! ;)

  5. Amen, ladies! Like I said... I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I TOTALLY feel the pressure of the sacrifices we make. Being away from family is so so hard. But on the other hand, I just don't feel worthy of the strange hero worship that we seem to have for the uniform, you know? (Which makes sense since I don't even wear the uniform, ha!) But as a MilSpouse... I know I'm a part. And I'm just conflicted :o)

    Also, Amber and Jen. You ladies are champions in my book. I can't speak from experience about true sacrifice until I've said goodbye to my husband for seven months. You. two. ROCK.

    And MIL: "Thanks for your encouragement! And you are welcome - it's an amazing opportunity" ;o) Love you!