Happy National Veterans and Military Families Month!
Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your love, support and service to our country. Here is an excellent article on the topic of the day – should milspouses and military family members be thanked for their service?
The short answer? Abso-freakin-lutely.
For those of you who are new around here and might not know, I am dating a man who is in the military. We met in New Orleans, the Air Force moved him to D.C. and a handful of months after that, I joined him.
Before becoming a “milso” or a military significant other, I didn’t know what it was like to live a life in the military or the sacrifices it entails for both parties in a relationship.
I knew service members deployed, and that’s about it. I never thought of the partners they left behind or the pets that still needed to be walked and fed or the children that still needed to be, you know, kept alive.
As a matter of fact, I was with Felix in New Orleans when he had to pack his life into boxes and move across the country.
It isn’t easy.
I have been seeing a lot of posts on social media asking milspouses how they respond when *civilians say to them, “Thank you for your service.”
*Non-military members. I like to call us muggles, so from this point forward on Powered by Sass, muggles = civilians. You’ve been warned.
For starters, I have been thanked for my service, and while I do not put on a uniform everyday and serve my country, I still smiled and politely said, “thank you.”
The amount of hurtful comments I have seen from women on social media in response to this question is astonishing. Some of them are as follows:
“I correct them. I don’t serve. My husband does. Go thank him.”
“My husband is the one who does all the hard work! I’m just a spouse!”
“It’s SO AWKWARD! I never know what to say.”
“I’m sorry, but did you sign your name at the bottom of enlistment papers? I didn’t “give up” anything to be with my husband. I chose to be with my husband. Your husband goes to war to serve our country not you.”
“Don’t thank me. I don’t do anything.”
I’m sorry (not really), but excuse me?
- You do serve. You might not put on a uniform everyday, but choosing to live the military life as a spouse in support of your partner who serves is choosing to live a life of service.
- You are not JUST a spouse. You are SO MUCH MORE than a wife or husband. If you choose to have that title be your #1 identity, then by all means, but that’s not how the majority of milspouses view themselves.
- How is it awkward for someone to come up to you and thank you for supporting your service member and loving them and your country enough to live this insanely challenging, albeit rewarding, life? How?
- I’m happy for you that you didn’t give ANYTHING up to be with your husband. Most of us can’t say the same. Things like careers, friends, family, houses, and sometimes dreams go by the wayside. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
- You don’t do anything? Like, at all? Ever? You haven’t helped organize a PCS? Volunteered for a base event? Cried with a friend when he/she missed their deployed partner? Gone to work every single day and still had time for other things?
Stop saying milspouses, milsos and military families don’t also serve.
We hold down the fort during TDYs and deployments.
We take care of the pets, the home and the children when the service member is away on duty, and most of us work full-time while doing it.
We forfeit our careers to move with our service member and reinvent ourselves at each duty station.
We leave our homes behind, including our friends, family and familiar things.
We aren’t wearing a military uniform, we don’t have to remember who to salute or who not to, and we don’t have to call people “sir” or “ma’am” on the reg, unless that’s your thing, but we wear many hats, and one of those is resiliency.
Living a life in the military is freaking hard. Every single person who has lived this life knows that. How dare anyone put a member of a military family down by insisting they don’t serve, and how dare anyone make a muggle feel stupid for responding to a thank you by saying, “I don’t do anything. Don’t thank me.”
How dare you?
The military community needs to be one big, supportive and loving community who joins hands and uplifts each other. I refuse to be a part of a community that isn’t.
So for all of my milspouse friends near and far, and to those of you who I have yet to meet, thank you. Thank you for your service.
And welcome to the family.
So what do you think? Do milspouses and military families serve? Leave your response for me in the comments below.