An Army Wife's try at a Veterans Day Tribute:

We’ve all seen the combat footage, we all know blood is shed, we all acknowledge the sacrifice and life lost. Especially on Veterans Day. 

We don’t all live with or know the person in the combat videos, thats shed their own blood, and picked up the pieces of lives lost on the battle field.

But. I do. 
And if you know me, 
you do too.

I’ve never shared this video of Tim, sometimes it’s hard to watch, other times I’m worried I’ll inflict more stress to my friends currently living in this reality with their Solider gone. 

PRESS PLAY OR CLICK PHOTO TO WATCH. Not graphic, but my husbands head sticking out of the M113 taking the hit.

It’s not often though you’re able to see your Soldiers experience on video or witness the reality of what you know in your mind happened, but could never fully understand or imagine. 

I know there are many more, but seeing this particular incident of him in video format, knowing he lived this several times over, impacts me emotionally more and more each year it seems. 

This enemy attack did send him on a journey home, after 11 months of route clearance missions with the best Engineer platoon that ever existed. #dirtydeuce

It did cause visible wounds on him, some the severity of which we won’t know for years to come. We give God all the glory for the miracle science can’t explain as to how he functions with the significance of brain loss he has. 

IMG_1934.jpg

Seeing the actual explosion that caused it, shakes my core as a constant reminder what my Veteran has given. What so many Veterans have given. And what our Veterans continue to give. 

It’s more than just a thought or concept we can wave a flag at, it’s more than a heartfelt thank you can really cover, or a day off work can acknowledge. It’s raw emotion I personally feel almost daily. Being married to a Veteran and active duty service member gives me a unique perspective I’m still wrapping my words around, so I can share with you, to help us all appreciate them more and better understand what and who our Veterans are. 

We all know the sacrifices are hard. Tim and I are the lucky ones. He came home. He’s still serving, excited to continue to stand strong alongside the fellow Veterans that answer the call daily as they train, deploy, and serve for a worldly impact most of us don’t even know about. Missionaries without a church affiliation or choice in the area of service. They agree each day to give all if thats asked, with a selfless spirit we should all be so thankful for. And yet as the wife, I’m scared for. 

This Veterans Day, even after the wounds and the blood shed, or even if there wasn’t, I want to help you understand its the invisible wounds that hurt and haunt the most. When I look at my Veteran, I can’t comprehend the vast complexity of how the same man that’s experienced the worst humanity has to offer, can so lovingly care for me, our children, and even settle back into what appears to be normal life. 

He doesn’t want glory, recognition, or applause, it almost makes him uncomfortable. As if he’s compartmentalized us and that. And I’m learning to be okay with understanding some things don’t go back to how they were, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be great in a new way. 

I’m also okay that he tells me all his stories, or at least he does when he’s ready, I feel lucky he wants to share with me. It’s like I can see him going back into time, remembering how lucky he is to be alive, and in that moment why he needs to keep living #ALLiN, and doing right by his fellow Solider until he decides to hang up his boots. Being able to know these parts of who he is, has given me the grace needed to continue to be okay that we are still living this life. 

I know why he wears a memorial bracelet on his wrist everyday, and the details of that particular situation. I know what he was asked to do over and over regardless of the statistics and fear, why he couldn’t always shoot back, why he doesn’t trust even small kids, and why he feels uncomfortable in certain social situations. I know why certain smells take him back, certain sights cause anxiety, and that those moments don’t mean he’s not okay. I know he stood almost daily at the sight of the American flag draped over a casket during ramp ceremonies, to pay his respects as they were loaded onto aircraft to come home, that will always be enough reason for us to stand. 

To me our Veterans are the best our country has to offer. Truly Gods creation of people so selfless and gentle, yet strong and brave enough to do it again and again when asked, and he has, and they still are. 

We aren’t meant to understand the fullness of the title VETERAN, and they are okay with that. The moment we try to pretend like we do, we’ve lost sincerity in our appreciation. 

IMG_5739.JPG

Since the day I said “I do” I’ve been married into the #armywifelife and surrounded by men and women who have volunteered during a time of war. Pilots, Infantry men, Paratroopers, Sappers, and even Marines. The Veterans you and I shake hands with are the men and women we will read about in history books 10-20 years from now. You’ve met real life American Hero’s. 

We don’t see it in black and white, or through long lost letters like during the wars of our former Veterans. Now we see it in color and on video, almost desensitized to the actual sacrifices being made.

We have a responsibility to appreciate them, for the time at war, and the wars they continue to fight even after they leave, especially on Veterans Day! 

He’d tell it so much better. And maybe one day he will. Growing up I read the history books and watched old movies to understand, now I’m married to the real life thing, any words I pen to post could never be enough to help us all, down to our cores, appreciate what we have because of our country’s finest, the American Veteran. 

Happy Veterans Day, from an Army wife that is proud of all our Veterans, you are why our country continues to be the best in the world. Forever in debt to you.