Being married to a Serviceman. Honestly, not a path I would have predicted for myself years ago. Both married AND to a serviceman.
I wasn't the 10 year old girl that dreamed of her princess dress and every detail of the day she would be wed. I was imagining myself in surgeon scrubs (which clearly never happened) or on archeological digs discovering the next big fossil. Which I attribute to my nose being stuck in books, my mother's continued lecturing about being self-sufficient (thank you!) and watching my father's insatiable work ethic.
But I've already covered the wedding. This is about who (or whom - Peyton, grammar help??) I have married. My husband served 4 years active duty in the Army as a Cavalry Scout in Hawaii (don't ask me to say this in person. I often say 'Cav Scout' since I can't properly pronounce 'Cavalry'. Just doesn't roll off the tongue for me.) and is now serving his second and last year in the National Guard while in the Cincinnati Police Academy. He has traveled all over the world training with different country's militaries and now travels once a month to an Armory to continue his service with the Guard. I will let him share his perspective on that one.
And...no. We weren't married during his time in Hawaii. I don't even pretend to walk in those shoes. Raising two children on an army base far from home with their father on training missions several weeks out of the year. No, my time comes after that. I hear the stories. I see the frustration. I witness the wisdom that came from those years.
We ask civilians (men and women) to give their lives, under contract, for our freedom, liberties and rights. For little pay and respect. I am not pointing fingers, I know many in this country support our troops. But what does that even mean? Putting a sticker or magnet on a car? Or a sincere conversation about what it takes to serve, what it means to those that do and the families that support them both during and after their service. Like how long it takes to get health care bills paid or receiving academic funds for books after the semester is completed. My husband said recently that he believes everyone should serve in some capacity. Then politicians, upper administration and civilians would have perspective on what it means to be a Servicemen.
A year ago. I would have adimately disagreed. Now - I feel very differently. According to the New York Times and Pew Research Center
'less than 1 percent of the Amercian population has been on active military duty.'
This is a pretty astounding gap. But the result is
'a military far less connected to the rest of society, a condition that some academics have said might not bode well for the future of military-civilian relations (the military is run by civilians). Others have warned that less connection between the military and the rest of society could lead to less-informed decisions about whether to go to war, because conflicts and the people who fight them are not part of most people's everyday lives.'
This doesn't mean everyone should run out and join Combat Arms. No, that's not what I'm saying. But to have known someone that has chosen that path and continues to serve now as a Policeman (or sister of a Paramedic) grants serious perspective.
There is much more to discuss such as pay (most Servicemen make salaries below the poverty line), lifestyle (the dependapotamus, yes - this is a thing), and how Servicemen are treated after active duty. More on that to come. All comments welcome - it's a discussion not just worth having but necessary.