From a Military Wife on Memorial Day

An American flag waving in the wind, never fails well up an emotional response of love for country.

An American flag waving in the wind, never fails well up an emotional response of love for country.

 

I did not plan to be a military wife.

“Did I ever tell you that I want to go into the Marine Corps and fly jets?” I was shocked silent. Little did I know that this question was God’s way of introducing major directional change. This startling question came from Mark, a guy I had been dating for a just a few months.

All my if-this-works-out daydreams had never covered even a thought of active duty military life. Though my dad served in the Navy in World War II, I knew nothing of living life in the military.

And I didn’t want to.

I wanted to stay put in one place and live a predictable life. I had no real-time context for the military life.

Was this guy going to suddenly turn into Rambo?

“Are you going to get a tattoo,” was the first thought that came to my mind as I tried to envision my guy as a Marine. All I could think of was the worst that Hollywood movies had to offer.

I wasn’t quite sure about this whole military service thing. A few months later, while Mark was gritting it out in OCS, Officer’s Candidate School, a co-worker asked if we were talking about marriage.

“I don’t know. He’s joined the Marine Corps.” I said this like he had a disease. My co-worker reminded me that I would be marrying the man, not the job.

“I don’t think that’s true with the Marine Corps. If I marry this man, I am also marrying into the Marine Corps and all that entails.”

Welcome to the Marine Corps.

Time passed, and my once-civilian boyfriend became my lean and green Marine husband. I will never forget the swordsman at our wedding who whacked me on my backside with a drill-instructor firm, “Welcome to the Marine Corps, Mrs. Harrington!” That was the first time I was addressed by my new name.

Twenty-two years later I can say without a single regret that military service has become both an honorable and a personal part of my life. It has shaped our family life in countless ways.

We are all better for it.

Through the years with a military family.

Through the years with a military family.

  • Commitment to God, country, and duty.
  • Integrity and leadership.
  • Camaraderie and faithfulness.
  • Sacrifice and honor.

These are just of few of the core values that permeate and sustain the military family. Though I may have been a reluctant military bride, I am so proud of my husband and all that he has given to both our nation and our family.

Today, I know that I am not alone in gratitude for those who have served our country through military service.

Just a few weeks ago, my husband retired. As they placed the folded flag into his hands, I exhaled a soul-sigh of relief that he had survived 24 years of service healthy and whole. I had not realized that somewhere deep inside, I had been holding my breath. Tucked away out of sight was 24 years of resolve and fear of what could happen if…

Navy Captain and long-time friend Bruce Hay retired my husband in April.

Navy Captain and long-time friend Bruce Hay retired my husband in April.

I know through personal experience many times over that many who serve in our military do not come home. Too many do not have the opportunity to celebrate retirement with family and friends. My heart breaks for each one of these families both past and present.

These are the ones who are on my heart today. Join me in remembering with honor those who have sacrificed their lives serving our country.

Truly we are the home of the free because of the brave.

 

Please feel free to show your honor for our military by passing this post along.

16 Comments

  1. great post 🙂 Thankful to God that I got to be part of your military story, you have changed my life in many ways, thanks for choosing the life of being a military wife. SO many are changed because of your obedience.

    • Ginger Harrington

      Angel, you never fail to encourage me in meaningful ways. I cannot tell you how many times your encouragement has drawn me off the edge of giving in. Thank you for using your sweet gifts as well! We are mutually blessed:)

  2. Such a moving tribute. I offer my civilian salute to all who serve, especially to all who paid the ultimate price so we can live in the freedoms we so take for granted.

  3. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing.

    • Ginger Harrington

      So glad you enjoyed this. Please share it with those in your circle. Can’t wait to see you when you arrive in my corner of the world.

  4. As a Marine mom, I know that families also serve. Thank you for being willing to serve at home while your husband served the rest of us. And thanks for this tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

  5. What a great reminder to be thankful for not only the men and women who sacrifice for our freedoms, but the families who sacrifice as well.

    Thank you, Mark and Ginger!

  6. This is a beautiful tribute, Ginger! Congratulations on retirement and many thanks for all you endured for our freedoms. Love you girl!

  7. A great tribute, Ginger. My daughter is seriously dating a West Point grad. He’s at dive school until August, then moving to Ft Eustis. Those military folks have different wiring, and it takes a special spouse to support and encourage them, as well as keep things running smoothly at home.

    Blessings to YOU, for all you do.
    btw, it was great to meet you at BRMCWC. Looking forward to continuing the friendship!

    • Ginger Harrington

      Like-wise my friend! Best wishes to your daughter. Though there are certainly challenges, the rewards are very special. We have had an exciting run!Thanks for joining the conversation, Susan:)

  8. Thank you Ginger for a glimpse into the life of a military family. We civilians need always to be reminded of the tremendous sacrifice (and hidden blessings) for those who serve our country.

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