I wasn’t aware in 1994 that I would ever be a military wife. When I met my husband, he had always been civic-minded and very patriotic. He was a Chemistry and Physics teacher that had recently retired to get into working the chemical industry. Our family was in a car, enjoying a leisurely Sunday drive a few days after 9/11 happened.
My husband commented,”Here I am enjoying my freedom with my family, while our guys are dying in Iraq. I just feel like I need to do my part to keep that evil from invading our land and possibly hurting you or our son.” He said he was thinking about joining the military to do his part. He asked me what I thought and I said he needed to do what he felt he had to do, and it was his choice and that I support him no matter what. Thus began his research into joining the National Guard.
A couple of weeks pass and he had a meeting set up with a recruiter.
He came home all excited from the meeting with the recruiter about the various benefits. With his classic sick sense of humor, he said, “Ooh they have death benefits so if I get killed, you will get $250,000.” I said,”Very funny, but that would actually screw me out of some income as I expect you to at least live ’til 78 and what you would make as a chemist times 45 years of earning would definitely surpass that 250K. Plus, you are a much-needed fixture in our lives. I couldn’t imagine it without you.”
Did I mention he was only 34 at the time, without much cartilage or cushioning in the knee joints? Our son was maybe 6 at the time when his father left to go to basic training. Proudly, my 34-year-old husband kicked the butt of half the cheese-eating high school kids when it came to running and PT. He was so proud to tell me of his various accomplishments during the training. Plus, having been a high-school teacher, he was used to the tempers, testosterone, etc. that the younger privates were dealing with and the mind games the drill sergeants were using. It still sucked, but he made it through and his graduation was one of the proudest events for him.
He looked amazing in his Class A’s. Damn, I love a man in uniform.