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I have spent the better part of my life tied to the National Guard, and I'm grateful for every moment. Both my husband, Frank, and I come from humble roots in Missouri and have been blessed with opportunities that neither of us could imagine when we started our lives together.
As a military spouse, I have lived and experienced many places around the globe and created lifelong friendships — friendships that I deeply cherish and have come to rely on during tough times. I know many of our military families have experienced similar tough times. For instance, it was difficult to move our home and our family as Frank's career progressed.
These moves were especially difficult for our children, particularly during their high school years. Now, as adults, our children say the sacrifice they endured was all worth the price each one of us paid. They are particularly fond of the friends they've made through the years and the various cultures they were able to experience in our travels. I'm comforted by knowing they appreciated the life the military provided for us.
It's also important to note the incredible dedication and sacrifice shown by our service members and their families. I'm continually humbled by their actions, and how truly committed to our country each one of them is.
I've seen soldiers and airmen leave their families for months, sometimes even years, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how they continue to push forward and embrace the military life they've chosen. Sadly, I've seen people deploy only to come back injured or never to return, and have seen the effects it has on the families who are left behind. These are among the saddest moments in my life.
The strength and resolution that husbands, wives and children show is humbling and awe inspiring. My heart also fills with pride as I see them push through those tough times and emerge stronger on the other end. I'm so grateful to be part of the National Guard family.
My husband has risen to the highest rank in the military. I know firsthand how his experience has shaped him into the man he is today. Our conversations with one another usually revolved around his concern to best serve those in his charge. Typically, I ask him to remember what life was like at every rank he held, and to consider how it affected him and those around him. This advice has served him and our National Guard well.
In closing, being affiliated with the military has been a truly great experience. I'm so honored to be part of an organization made up of so many professionals. I'll always be indebted to those who serve this nation. Thank you for your service to our country, and thank you for keeping us safe. May God bless each and every one of you.