Appreciation for a Life in the Military

Published: December 2, 2022

Did you know that around 1% or less of the U.S. population serves in the military? This means many people don’t understand modern military life and the challenges and opportunities associated with it. Many civilians think only of war or deployments when they think of the military. But it’s far from just that! While we may not be at war on a large scale right now, there is still so much that our military does for our country. November might have been National Military Family Appreciation Month, but recognizing the sacrifices military families make while supporting their service members is important year-round. As a part of a military family myself, I’ve learned a few things that remind me of why I appreciate this life. 

I appreciate our service members’ sacrifices because they choose to serve and protect our country. 

Recently, I returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel. It was such a unique, eye-opening experience! While there, I learned that military service is mandatory for men AND women in Israel. Women must serve two years, and men serve two and a half to three. It’s humbling when I think about our military in the U.S. Our armed forces are made up of brave men and women who voluntarily stepped up and took an oath to serve and protect. The United States has the world’s strongest, most lethal military force, and it’s comprised of 100% volunteers! Let that sink in. 

I appreciate the unique experiences the military provides for those serving and their families.

Anyone part of a military family (or even connected to one) knows that this life can be challenging, chaotic, and unforgettable. But for every deployment, missed birthday, cross-country move, or a run-in with Murphy’s Law, there are twice as many positive experiences. I say that from many years of personal experience! For example, I’ve moved 18 times in my adult married life. Some of those duty stations allowed me to visit places we may have never seen otherwise, like Australia, Paris, Spain, Israel, and all over the U.S.! 

I appreciate the opportunities the military gives us because they force us out of our comfort zone and into new adventures. 

The choice to serve in the military is a personal one and varies greatly for each person. For some, it’s a chance to fulfill a dream of serving our country. Others see military service as an opportunity for a better life and a step in the right direction. Military service can also be a step toward U.S. citizenship, an opportunity for higher education, or even a chance to train in their dream occupations. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s almost always worth it. 

For my son, I knew from the time he was a toddler that he wanted to fly. Though we never pushed military service on him, he chose to go to college on an ROTC scholarship and decided on the world of aviation. Yes, he has deployed a couple of times during his short Army career, and that is super scary for a mom, but he is also living his dream. Not only that, but because of his military upbringing, he knows the world is his oyster. He can’t wait to experience “all the things,” and that makes this mom very happy!  

Let’s focus on the good! 

Military life has its challenges, but there is a world of opportunities that the military lifestyle offers! And when the times get tough, try to remember one of my favorite military slogans, “It’s not just a job. It’s an adventure.” 

What has your military family “adventure” been like? What unexpected things have you gotten to do or see? I’d love to hear about it!  

Musings From A Military Spouse 

Michelle is no stranger to military life. She grew up as an Air Force brat, has been an Army spouse for 35 years, and is now an Army mother. Although life in the military is always changing, she knows that family is steadfast and home isn’t a place – it’s who you’re with. Michelle has learned a thing or two about military life, and she hopes you’ll join her as she shares her lifelong experiences each month in “Musings from a Military Spouse.”

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