So you couldn't be in Washington, D.C. the week of May 3 for all the military spouse hoopla? That's OK. Because we've got a rundown of our favorite quotes just for you.
As the head of Military.com's spouse and family content I spent the week of May 3 in Washington, D.C. attending a series of military spouse and family events. I spent time at Homefront Rising, a political action boot camp for military families, the annual Military Spouse JD Network reception, the Military Spouse of the Year town hall and awards, a reception for Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford and Sen. John McCain at the 8th and I Marine Corps Barracks and the American Military Partners Association (AMPA) annual gala. Phew. All told, I was lucky enough to log more than 40 hours over May 6-9 hearing from some of our country's most amazing spouses and supporters.
So what did I learn? Here are a few snippets:
"Don't stop asking, 'What do I need to keep my identity?'" -- Tammy Meyer at the Military Spouse of the Year town hall.
Tammy was the 2014 Navy spouse of the year. Originally nominated by our friend Amanda Crowe, who leads In Gear Career, Tammy told spouses at the Military Spouse Magazine town hall some lessons she had learned over her time as the Navy spouse of the year. Learning how to keep your own identity, she said, is key to making it in the military life.
“No one on the hill is saying ‘let’s screw over military families today,'” -- Joyce Raezer at Homefront Rising.
If there is one person who knows how to give 'em hell on Capitol Hill, it's Joyce Raezer. She calls herself a curmudgeon, but we know that she's a sweetheart and one of the most well versed activists for military spouse and family members out there. She shared her wisdom on getting the attention of congressional leaders at the annual Homefront Rising political action boot camp. You can read more about that day over here and follow Joyce on Twitter @NMFAJoyce.
"From where I stand right now the view is breathtaking." -- Brett Jones at the American Military Partners Association (AMPA) annual gala.
Brett Jones was the first openly gay man to serve as a Navy SEAL and was the keynote speaker at the annual AMPA gala. Standing before a room of about 350 gay and lesbian service members, their spouses and straight supporters, Jones spoke briefly about the honor of seeing so many gay and lesbian troops serving openly. Visit Brett's website here or AMPA on Twitter.
"This is all out there already, but do not underestimate what it takes for the DoD to embrace these things because of OPSEC." -- Rosemary Williams at the Military Spouse of the Year town hall.
Rosemary Williams, the deputy defense secretary for family policy, talked at the town hall of the free resources out there for military families. She also talked about a face lift coming soon to Military One Source to make it (we pray!) more user friendly. And since it's the DoD we're talking about, she said, some of the user friendly tools that we've come to expect in normal web sites are harder to implement. You can read the rest of my news story about that over here. Follow Rosemary on Twitter @RosemaryReport.
"I know that cutting into somebody's head is pretty invasive." -- Susan Reynolds at the Military Spouse of the Year town hall.
Susan is a Tricare activist and founder of Bad Mother Advocate. At the town hall she talked about her own battle with Tricare. Instead of supplying the non-invasive medical helmet for her son, doctors wanted to do surgery. I'll give you one guess on who won that battle. Susan is now working with members of congress to direct their attention to the issue of Tricare for military kids. Follow her @motheradvocate on Twitter.
"The ultimate goal is for you to not only survive the service but to be able to thrive while serving.” - Taya Kyle at the Military Spouse of the Year awards
Taya Kyle is the widow of Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle, who was killed by a veteran friend after getting out of the military. Taya spoke to the room of spouses and supporters at the Military Spouse of the Year awards luncheon while accepting the Gabby Giffords award and before signing copies of her new book, "American Wife." Follow Taya on Twitter @tayakyle.