soldiers and their families

Military Life: an insider's perspective On Independence Day

Daily lives of the rank and file.


*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.

Cover Image Credit:

Hannah Ward

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How Happiness In A Relationship Is So Important

What is the happiness and love that we as individuals deserve when it comes to our relationship?


It's different for each of us. Some prefer being showered in gifts, being showed off on social media, bragged about to family and friends. But, what is the one thing that all of those have in common?

That would be the unmistakable amount of love your significant other has for you, that they will do anything to show you that they love you unconditionally. We all show our love for one another in various ways. I for one love being shown the love someone else has for me in small things they do.

It could be a simple 'good morning love' text message or even just a hug out of the blue. Knowing that someone cares so deeply about you is one of life's greatest gifts. Knowing that another human being loves you and wants to be with you, it makes us drunk off of love and our heads float up to the stars.

However, when we don't feel that love, that connection, that reassurance from our significant other that they love and care for us back, it can be an extremely overwhelming and a lonely feeling.

We start looking for those feelings and connections elsewhere. In our friends for reassurance if we look good or blowing up their phones for attention.

We start caring about if other people find us attractive or not, we relish in compliments that other people give us. We start looking for that happiness elsewhere. It's not because you stop loving your significant other or stop caring about them, but we as humans need to feel important and like we are needed by another person.

When you stop letting your significant other know how much you care about them or showcasing your love for them, even if it's a simple gesture like holding their hand or holding the door open for them, they will begin to look elsewhere.

Now I am in no way saying that they will cheat on you, but your relationship and their attitude and feelings towards you will never be the same until you start showing them how much they mean to you just as much as they do for you. I don't condone cheaters or staying in a relationship that you are not happy in.

Yes, some relationships go through hard times like distance or a traumatic event. However, the way I see it is if you entered into the relationship, to begin with, you obviously cared about that person a lot and if they show you that they care and love you for the person you are and your past then they deserve the same in return from you.

Relationships are not always easy, they take time, determination, communication, compromise, and love to stay afloat. If one of you isn't willing to give your all and put forth the effort needed then it will never work. A relationship can't be successful if it is only one-sided.

Despite peoples life's being busy on a day to day basis, you need to always find time for your significant other. Because at the end of the day when things hit the fan, your significant other should be the one that will be there no matter what and always be by your side.

All in all, you need to treat each other the way in which you would want to be treated in a relationship and treat them the way they should be treated despite whatever chaos is going on in the world about you. Love is the conquer of all and should never be thrown around or not taken seriously.

Loving someone else is a gift we are given by God and never taken lightly.

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I Got A Breast Reduction At 19 And Have No Regrets

I couldn't be happier.


I'll basically tell everyone that I got a breast reduction. It's not a secret. I'm so proud of it and still so excited about it that it's a public declaration. I worked so hard to do all of the steps that I had to take beforehand and waited for so long to have the actual procedure. At some points in time in the waiting, it was extremely stressful. I had to be waiting and making sure the insurance would cover it, finding a surgeon in our network, making sure that I had taken all of the necessary steps... etc.

After the procedure, I endured a painful recovery that included being forced to sleep in a recliner. I learned that eventually, yes, you do get tired of sitting down. But nevertheless, I started to thrive after that recovery.

I noticed changes right away. The first one was the obvious matter of half of my chest missing. Looking in a mirror brought extremely strange feelings. It's like I knew I had a new body, and I was looking at it, but it didn't feel like my body. It felt like someone else's body and my head. I also noticed that every piece of clothing fit differently, mostly in a good and loose way. I also got to be someone new.

It was like suddenly I wasn't the girl with big boobs, and I was just a girl. A piece of my identity got stripped, and I was more than happy to part ways with it. Having to constantly worry about what my shirt is doing or how it's pulling is exhausting. Even wearing t-shirts, I didn't get a break. It's a lot.

My life is changed for the better since having surgery. I feel the most "myself" than I have in YEARS. I have the freedom to do whatever I want, without limitations. I can buy a bikini... from TARGET. *yelling* TARGET !!! Overall, I'm so much more confident. I don't know why I thought of my large boobs as a hindrance to being confident, but they truly were. I spent so much time trying to hide them.

Now, I put on a piece of clothing and check myself out. I even pull down my shirt if I'm feeling like it. I feel like for the first time in a long time, I can finally love the body that God gave me in the right way. My body is now capable of so many things, and I feel on top of the world. It's almost been a year, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I'm now able to talk to women who are considering a breast reduction and let them know that It was the best life decision that I've ever made. I can use this experience to help other people because I get it.

I've gone through something so unique, and it's worth sharing. Will it make some people uncomfortable? Probably. Have some men been in the wrong space at the wrong time while I discuss it with another girl? You bet. Do those things make me stop talking about it? You bet not.

I got a breast reduction at 19 years old, and I have no regrets.

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