Is there anything more special than seeing a service branch celebrate another birthday? Another year of protecting our country, another year of history in the books, another year of celebrating the relentless sacrifice, dedication and commitment of troops to the branch and the United States?
Nothing quite like it.
And so what if the Air Force is turning 71, instead of, say, 249? Yeah, yeah, the Marines, Navy, Army and Coast Guard are all older than us. Well, guess what? There were no planes back then, so we are right on schedule.
As an Air Force wife, I revel in the Air Force’s history, and important dates like these. Growing up, I had zero concept of the military lifestyle, or the existence of military installations in general. Distant relatives of mine served during World War II, but aside from a few brief stories I heard them tell, we weren’t all that engaged in the movements of the military. At least, I wasn’t.
Then, I met my husband, and I watched as he wrestled with first, the decision to join at all, and second, which branch to join. He read up on all of them, weighed pros and cons, even solicited my advice, of which I refused to give. Why would he ask me, when the only insight I had was from movies?
He talked to recruiters from several branches, going back and forth asking each of them questions. The choice had to be right in his mind and his heart.
Finally, finally, he decided it was important to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Air Force, too. He wanted to create his own memories as a member of the branch he grew up seeing his dad serve in.
Waving goodbye to him as we dropped him off at boot camp, and then seeing him for the first time at his Lackland AFB graduation, almost unrecognizable in the sea of light blue button downs and crisp, creased pants on the parade fields.
The Air Force will always have my respect and gratitude for not only what its members do every day to keep the mission running smoothly, but for providing my husband with a sense of purpose and stability. He found a true calling when he signed the dotted line, and every time he reenlists, I breathe a little sigh of relief—we’re not done yet.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days I don’t love the Air Force, and those are usually the days I’m saying goodbye to my husband for a significant chunk of time. I’m entitled to be a little grumpy, right?
But, then, I know how prepared he is to do his job, and how proud he is to be a part of something so much bigger and important than himself.
So, happy birthday, Air Force. For seven decades you have created and molded young airmen, like my husband, into a critical piece of the military puzzle.
“Off we go, into the wild blue yonder…”