I admit that prior to marrying my spouse, I authentically was thankful for our Veterans and acknowledged the importance of their contributions, but I didn't really connect the dots to how unique and inspiring our servicemen and women are Until the immersive experience that marriage (to an amazing military serviceman) brought, I ultimately had little experience with the challenges and the benefits of inclusion inside the military community. I did have some insight through the stories of family members, friends, and veterans of WWII, Vietnam, and Korea, but reality offered me a valuable perspective of modern military life. I transitioned from clueless to knowledgable in rapid fashion. Curiosity can be a killer; in this case, I am glad to have died because I am a better person due to my experience.
Two major points stand out to me as a military spouse. One is just how few people in our country bear the intense burden that is both voluntary and required to continually ensure the security and success of our Great Republic. Less than 1% of our population actually take the oath of service. This raises opposing perspectives for people for different reasons. Some feel it's unfair that so few carry the burden of so many. Some feel it a privilege to walk simultaneously with their fellow servicemen and women. I feel both. I'm also in awe of the creativity, intelligence, innovativeness, optimism, and sheer tenacity of the active duty and veterans I have had the privilege to meet. From the Pentagon to the cookouts on pristine lawns with our neighbors, from chefs to Generals, Lieutenants to Colonels, operators to logisticians, the military is an impressive generator of quality human capital. Until my immersive experience through marriage, I had but a tiny glimpse of our nation's capacity. Now I feel and know it and find a great deal of hope for our world and the world our children will inherit.
The second realization that struck me, as my immersive journey into this world began, is possibly the most important. Our military's oath of service sets the US military apart from nations across the globe. Embedded in the oath sits a key mandate and the guiding light for our military. To join, one must pledge to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic... This is foundational to the mindset and training of/for our troops. Their pledge is to our Constitution, not to any single political party, ideology, or theology. The military's commitment to the Constitution's support and defense secures all of our freedoms and our opportunities. It anchors our foundation. Given today's political and social climate, when politics and societal ideals collide, our conversations seem unstable, illogical, or unbalanced. In these moments, the Oath provides clarity. I consider the future and can see hope through gratitude for the strong foundation provided by our Constitution and those who are willing to support and defend it. So, to all Veterans, present, and past, thank you for taking the oath and proceeding to the business of securing and sustaining the American ideals for which we strive. We are grateful for the foundation and the springboard you provide to our families, businesses, and communities and consequently, to our future.
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
Curious to read the current military oath of service and past versions? Good for you! Click here.