CONTRIBUTED BY JANNINE MYERS
The other morning, when I was nosing about on Facebook, I noticed the following comment posted by one of my close friends:
“Every night at 9pm sharp I hear “Taps” playing…..I always stop to think about all my heroes and their families in hopes that their service for our country will never be in vain…. God bless you all…..”
I couldn’t agree more with my friend’s sentiments; there is no sacrifice greater than that which our military men and women are willing to make. Our recent observation of Veterans Day was a reminder for all of us that we must never forget the heroic duties performed by all those who have served in the past, as well as those who are serving now.
But equally important, are those who stand immediately behind our service members. Just as Veterans Day is a time to honor our service members, the month of November is a time to recognize our military families for the noble contributions that they also make. Beyond the call of duty lies the call of family members to love, support, and honor their active duty loved ones, even through the most difficult of times. I’ve seen and experienced various types of hardships over the years, and cried for others who have seen even greater hardships, and all the while I am amazed at the spirit and resilience of the military family.
Several years ago, while working as a youth facilitator with “at-risk” military kids, I realized for the first time that the military lifestyle adversely affects more than just a few of our children. I mentored children whose fathers had died in war, children with disorders such as ADHD and autism, and children with behavioral, social, and/or academic problems. Those children in the latter category were presumed to have developed such problems due to factors ultimately derived from their military family lifestyles.
I listened to these children tell me stories about losing friends, moving away from loved family members, and feeling angry because Dad deployed all the time, or resentful because they were tasked with so many responsibilities when only one parent was at home. It’s no wonder these kids were troubled, and yet through all their pain, I sensed that many of them understood and respected the paths their parents had chosen.
Military spouses don’t have it any easier either; the burden they must carry when their loved one is away is one that a civilian spouse could not possibly appreciate without first experiencing it for themselves. I’ve seen many a friend this past year wear the pants of both mother and father and play out this dual role to both older and younger children, while also attempting to keep the house clean, pay the bills, put meals on the table, maintain and clean cars, take care of the yard, get kids to appointments and after-school activities, and perform numerous other must-do chores.
They understand what it is to be a single parent, but furthermore, they are often challenged to maintain a positive and cheerful attitude in situations which are less than desirable.
My thanks go out to all the family members of our military men and women, not just spouses and children, but also grandparents and extended family members who help to fill the gap when loved ones are away. It’s because of your dedication and and continuous support of our uniformed members that they in turn are able to go out and effectively complete their tasks.
Humorist Will Rogers once said, “We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud as they go by.” Nobody does a better job of applauding our heroes than the military family, and for that, you should all be applauded too!
Photos kindly contributed by Christina Kenyon.
This post was originally published on Okinawa Hai, but we think it relates to life here as well. Overseas Yes and Okinawa Hai have no legal or managerial affiliation; please see the Legal Page for more information.