Photo by Jessica Radanav
Photo by Jessica Radanav

An open-letter to our military

by Mary Del Rosario
Stripes Europe

The month of May is a special time for our military, past and present, as they are commemorated for their sacrifice and dedication to our country during Military Appreciation Month. The role of the military spouse is also acknowledged as they have their own appreciation day on May 10. As a civilian, this is my first encounter with the military community and I am both humbled and honored to work alongside with this giving community, so I thought I’d say thank you.

To the servicemembers, thank you for the dedication you have for protecting and serving our country. I have seen the hours you put in and the sacrifices you have all had to make. I can imagine the hard, tearful goodbyes being said to your families and friends as you get ready for deployment and being away from home to support the mission.

Thank you for getting up early in the morning for physical fitness so you can be fit and healthy. Most of us are still hitting our snooze buttons while you’ve been running for miles.

Thank you for doing a job that many people may not want to do. From all the training and schooling you have to go through, I’m sure it’s not as easy as you all make it look.

To the military spouses, thank you for being the glue that holds this community together. I remember when I first arrived here, I was clueless about the military world, and you have shown me that it’s possible to have family other than the ones you left behind back home.

Thank you for being supportive people who are always willing to lend a hand. From baking casseroles when your friend just had a baby to being a shoulder to lean on when times get tough. Thank you for caring about others.

Thank you for being resilient individuals who see the positive in even the worst of situations. Your husband or wife may be gone on deployment, yet you still go about your life taking care of your family with grace.

Thank you for being strong even when you feel like the walls are closing in on you. It must be hard being away from home and having to uproot your life every couple of years. However, every spouse I met has always told me how thankful they are to be living this life.

Without this community, I would not have known what it’s like to have a second family. The military community is the most loyal, tightly woven one I have ever met, and I am so proud to be a part of it.  

Show a military member and their families how much you appreciate them this month! 

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