I wrote this piece as a commemorative speech, giving tribute to the women who marry into the military. Particularly the army. Who knows, dating a man whose first love is the military, maybe it’ll be me someday.. check it out!
“I wear no uniforms, no blues or greens. But, I am in the military, in the ranks rarely seen.”
To the women who stand alone, who hold their heads high, who let the prideful tears silently but powerfully stain their cheeks. Who find themselves rolling over to an empty side of the bed. Who answer the question, “Where’s Daddy?” with tight smiles saying, “He’s being a hero.” For the women who are always praying that their hearts will remain intact while they stand on enemy lines. They are the silent ranks.
To the women who find camouflage comforting and Skype to be God’s greatest gift to man. To the women who guard their hearts with iron cages of strength. To the women who give up their husbands for months to a world of unknowns. To the woman who tells her child she will pick them up at 1500 hours knowing that the child will expect her at three. To those who find combat boots attractive and hear cadences in their dreams. They are the silent ranks.
To the women who long for their husband’s smile and fight against the commanding tears that threaten to take hold each and every day. To the women who fear the “d” word; deployment could mean death. To the woman who remembers the jingle of her husband’s identification tags while they hang loosely from his neck, slicing the air with the constant reminder that he may need to be recognized when he can no longer utter words. They are the silent ranks.
“I am not the one who fires a weapon, who puts his life on the line. But my job is just as tough, I’m the one who is always left behind.”
To the women who fight for their composure when they see a couple walking through the grocery store holding hands or sneaking a smooch. To the women who long to hear their husband’s voices and envy those who grasp the rough hands of the men they love. To the women who never flinch at discussion of M4 weapons. To the women who find talk of tanks commonplace, rather than terrifying. To the women who understand the difference between officers and enlisted men. To the women who still refer to their husbands by first name when everyone else calls him by his last. To them he is a husband; to others he might just be a man in uniform. To the women who revere the red, white and blue. They are the silent ranks.
To the women who hear the whoosh of their American flags flying high with pride; wishing, waiting, wanting for their husbands to return. To the women who understand that units are families and respect the males who stand alongside the men they love and adore. To the women who understand the meaning of serving. To the women who exemplify being “Army Strong.” They are the silent ranks.
“Behind the lines, I see things needed to keep this country free. My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do our kids and me.”
To the woman who looks at her left hand at a diamond sparkling bright and misses the contours and etched lines of her husband’s hand holding her own. To the woman who hears the echo of her husband’s laughter as she stands watching her children play. She remembers the pushup punishment placed on her children when he was home. To the women who watch their children learn and grow without a husband by their side. To the women who watch their children outfit the pieces of uniform left behind, hitting the wall with the hard helmet, carrying the heavy rucksack, wanting to resemble their daddy in the photo they grasp. As the children carry the heavy bag, their mothers carry the heavy burden of their husbands being gone. To the women who must fill the shoes of both mother and father. They are the silent ranks.
According to National Public Radio, fifty or so percent of each military branch is married. 82 percent of males serve. So, to you 930,000 something women: Thank you for giving your spouse for us.
“I love the man I married. The military is his life. So I pledge to support my hero and stand among the silent ranks known as the military wife.”