soldiers and their families

Military Life: an insider's perspective On Independence Day

Daily lives of the rank and file.

Hannah Ward

*I have interviewed multiple people including veterans, current enlisted members, and their families. Due to privacy I will not name any of them, but I will use their quotes.*

We are lucky enough to live in a country that so many dream of. We don't live in a war zone. We have pretty much every freedom you could ask for. We continue to be blessed with this life because of the military. As Independence Day comes up, celebrate our freedoms and be sure to thank a soldier.

I was raised in a very military supportive family. Along with multiple cousins and uncles, my own father was in the military. Just a few days ago he told me "I'll always be thankful for the navy showing me the way." The military is what led him to his career as a police officer. He has openly said that at 18 he was not thinking of how enlisting would affect his future children, he just wanted to get out of town. Fast-forward about 30 years and here I am reaping the benefits by having financial aid while in college.

There's more to the military than just wars and bombs. The military has some of the best research facilities and projects in our country. USUHS produces some of the best surgeons. SAMMC has been ranked among the top hospitals for surgical care. Besides excelling in the fields of medicine and research, the military consistently produces top-notch lawyers, pilots, engineers and many other highly respected professionals.

I have friends and family that live all over due to being in the military. The idea of being able to move across the world seems so fun, right? Not when you don't have a choice. Military families can be uprooted at any time. It is difficult to have a career as a civilian when your spouse's career requires you to move frequently. The frequent relocations can be hard on children as well. Being the new kid at school every few years and saying goodbye to good friends is difficult as a child.

"Having to adjust to him being gone and having to grow up so fast at such a young age to help our mother with things. There was no time for tears, sadness or worries, you had to keep going no matter what."

Moms and dads spend months away from their children. Husbands and wives don't see their spouses. Thirty years ago, facetime didn't exist. My dad said he would call home maybe once a month because it was so expensive. Anytime I want to contact my friends overseas now I just shoot a text. With technology, it makes the distance a little easier, but it's still not the same. When you go home today, think about how blessed you are to see your family and hug them extra tight.

Being away from home in general is hard. Not only do you miss your family, but there really is no place like home (especially Texas.) There are other difficulties the men and women in the military face, which civilians often do not see. The men and women are held to similar standards. You are not given special treatment based on gender or size. Many enlisted members claim that there is a clear division between officers and enlisted members which makes daily life challenging. There is an obvious social barrier between the two.

Though being in the military is hard, there are also many rewarding benefits to being in the military. Many people love the opportunity to travel. The military can give you so many career opportunities and allows you to make lifelong connections. Almost everyone I spoke with mentioned that the stability and benefits (insurance, financial aid, etc.) are very rewarding. Being a military family allows you to meet other families and people that are experiencing the same things you are. As an adult looking back, most are thankful of their experience in the military and how it impacted their life.

An interesting thing I noticed when conducting interviews was that not one veteran or enlisted member boasted about their service, but every child, parent and spouse said that they were honored to be a military family.

"The pride of being a military spouse is not like anything else."

Everyone enlists for different reasons. The most common ones I've been told were to leave home, to have better opportunities, it's a family tradition and just to serve our country. Whatever the reasoning is, it is a very honorable thing to do. While not everyone is on the front line, everyone that enlists is giving up part of their life to serve our country. I will always respect that.

The last question I asked people was, "Would you encourage your child to enlist (not force them)?" and everyone said yes.

I have friends that were military brats, some that are current military spouses and even some that are currently enlisted. And I'm sure you know at least one person that falls somewhere in there. No matter their role in the military system, military life gets hard. They all need our support.

Please do not ever say things like "we don't need the military" or derogatory comments like "he's just a jarhead" to me. The military is the reason you have the freedom to sit during the national anthem and be disrespectful. To those that snidely say "well they didn't have to go into the military," no they didn't. But they chose to. I would love to not have to think of the possibility of my best friend never coming home again, but him being in the military makes me respect him even more. Just because you didn't choose to join the military, doesn't mean you should disrespect those who do.

Appreciate the safety and freedoms you have. They can be taken away in an instant. Appreciate the people who protect those freedoms. Care for those that come back wounded. Remember those who have fallen. Support the troops.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.

My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Wore A Butt Mask Every Day For A Month, And It's Officially Essential In My Daily Self-Love Routine Now

Thirty days later, my booty's as smooth as a baby's.

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, you don't have to be quarantined to use a personal massager, you know? Because, sure, quarantine made for a lot of extra quality time with yourself, but no matter what phase of the reopening process you're in, it's normal and actually healthy to take care of your sexual needs on your own.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Books I Didn't Realize Are About Gay Women

If you read primarily LGBTQ fiction, then this list might help to expand your TBR list.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Frequent readers of LGBTQ fiction might feel like they're reading the same book over and over again, with few exceptions.

Most of these books were on my TBR list for months and I didn't realize they were about gay women until I was reading them, hopefully, this list of books can interest you in expanding your reading material and seeking out different stories.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments