On a cold December night in 2003, a close friend (and Naval Reservist) persuaded me to attend a social at a military base. Never having been to a military base, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. The idea of dating a military man did not interest me at all. It wasn’t that the military was an entirely foreign concept — My father had served in the Army during Vietnam, and my grandfathers had served in the Navy and Marine Corps during World War II, which I am wonderfully proud of. Little did I know that night I would meet my future husband and become a military spouse.
That night turned out to be the first step on a journey filled with excitement, aggravation, hope, loss and pride. It brought new dimensions to my understanding of real service, leading me to give more of myself to the communities we adopted. “National security” stopped feeling abstract and became the sum of myriad sacrifices by real people — friends, neighbors and sometimes even the girl in the mirror.
Military spouses are often referred to as “Dependents” in the military. I think a more accurate adjective to describe us would be “Independents.” Whether it’s the long stretches of time we are left alone to manage a household, a military move, or our careers, we Independents are a pretty strong, willful, resourceful and determined group. We know how to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get the job done without letting any grass grow under our feet.
An associate of Winston Churchill, Lord Moran said “When a soldier is at war, his (or her) mind should be at peace.” Winning on the battlefield is all about military readiness. A soldier can’t focus on the battlefield crises with family crises tugging at his or her mind.
Military husbands and wives have a direct and immediate influence on military readiness by their service on the home front. President Reagan knew this and wrote recognition of those contributions into our national story by proclaiming each Friday before Mother’s Day as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. For most people outside of the armed forces this holiday passes unceremoniously. So let’s take this opportunity to reach out and acknowledge this group of men and women in each of our lives.
If you know a military husband or wife, call them and thank them for their service. If you are employer and want to hire someone who is adaptable, has a strong work ethic, and is a creative problem solver – hire a military spouse! I have the privilege of managing Adecco’s Career Connections recruitment program for military families. We will be recognized this week, along with 19 other companies as one of the Top 20 Military Spouse Friendly Employers by Military Spouse Magazine. So it is with great pleasure that as an employer and fellow spouse that I say, “Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day”!
For more information on Adecco’s specialty recruitment program for military spouses, check out our website.