If it weren’t for the military, I wouldn’t be in Nebraska. Over 33 years ago, my dad received orders to Offutt Air Force Base. A wife and three little girls came along with him. I, the oldest of three girls, brought a load of questions in tow. I’d watch in awe as he suited up in his fatigues and laced up his boots. Every day, he’d rush out to work but not forget to pray and kiss Mom and us girls.
A memorable visit to Offutt Air Force Base
One day I remember hearing Mom on the phone with Dad. It sounded like we’d get to see him before he tucked us in this time. My eyes widened as we pulled up to the gate. Mom showed her ID to the officer and my questions started spewing out. Are you in trouble? What was that about? My chatty self was graced with a couple of laughs from Mom and decent-enough answers to pacify a 4-year-old. It was my first time on the base and I could hardly contain myself in my car seat. We finally rolled up to the tallest building I’d ever laid my eyes on—the tower. Minutes later, I’d take the longest ride of my life all the way up to the top to where Dad worked. As an air traffic controller, he had the perfect seat to see the world. He turned around from what seemed like a million buttons in front of him to pick me up and give me an even higher view. That day, I just knew Dad was part of something great.
A military man of my own
Little did I know that, 22 years later, I’d marry my own military man. Our four children and I get to watch in awe as he suits up in his fatigues and laces up his boots. His service in the Air National Guard allows us to enjoy “The Good Life” here in Nebraska. I gained a deeper respect for him as he served in the Middle East twice—even having to miss the birth of our youngest daughter. Thankfully, Skype allowed us to share the experience push by push and breath by breath.
Each Veteran’s Day, I join the nation in celebration of our courageous men and women who committed their lives to serve. And somehow, my military husband and I managed to conceive a child on our honeymoon who’d later be born on Veteran’s Day. Yes, November 11 is a major holiday in our home. Who knows? My Veteran’s Day daughter might be lacing her own Air Force boots up one day too.
Before we cut the cake for my daughter Karia, we’ll be sure to stop by the Omaha National Cemetery to pay respects to the best military wife that I knew—my Mom. Although my father is retired, his service to this great country continues to impact us all. Thank you to all of the servicemen and women who sacrifice so much for this country and our freedom. If you see a veteran today, please thank them for their incredible service.