Military life can be hard – and none of us knew what to expect when we signed on.
Being members of our country’s military community has been such a privilege for me and my husband. We’ve gotten to meet the most incredible people and visit some… interesting pockets of the world we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We count ourselves blessed and wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything.
But let’s face it — the military family lifestyle can also suck. In lots of big and little ways that they don’t tell you about beforehand.
If you’re a military spouse, I don’t need to say any more because you know exactly what I mean. But the thing is, most people outside our community don’t. It feels like our fellow Americans have so much goodwill toward military families, but not as much awareness of what our lives actually look like. And that’s a problem because it means that policies politicians push for don’t always actually support our troops.
We as military spouses have to tell our stories. Some of us already are!
An excellent and topical example is Secure Families Initiative Advisor Joyce Wessel Raezer’s recent opinion piece, Military Might Alone Cannot Solve America’s Problems, published on Military.com. She argues that military action should not be the only tool of American foreign policy. (For the record, we couldn’t agree more.)
[O]ur nation cannot rely on military might alone to solve our problems with the rest of the world. Our military members and their families are strong, patriotic, resilient and dedicated to service. We, the people who stay at home, who vote for our leaders and pay the taxes that support our nation’s work abroad, owe it to those who serve the assurance that the U.S. has filled its foreign policy tool box with every resource possible and is using the right tool for the right task.Military.com
Or, consider Rebecca Yarros, an Army spouse who published a poignant blog post in February 2019 that described the toll that frequent deployments had taken on her family. She explained why her husband would not be reenlisting with a tone of sadness and exhaustion that’s all-too-familiar for many of us.
Or the military spouse who wrote an anonymous open letter to Kurdish soldiers in October 2019, thanking them for fighting for years alongside her husband. She expressed the frustration that so many of us had when our troops were ordered to abandon our allies in northern Syria.
I don’t know about you, but when I read these pieces, I cried. I was so moved by these women’s courage, and so impressed by how their writing balanced graciousness with conviction. They made me feel proud to be a military spouse. And they made me feel less alone.
We need more viral blog posts and open letters published on CNN. For every Rebecca Yarros, there are hundreds more who feel the same way. If we as a community spoke up and out like these brave women, we could have a remarkable impact on how our country views the military and war.
That’s the beating heart of why Secure Families Initiative exists. I started this project to give us a place to unite, train, and mobilize. I hope you’ll join us and find where your voice can be most powerful.