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Tradition is something that sets you apart. It's unique only to you and the members of your group. In families it may be the prayer that is said at dinner, the way to say I love you or the special recipe that has been shared for generations. Tradition unites the group, creates bonds where they may never have been before and brings a sense of peace even in the midst of chaos. When two people unite in marriage, they bring in traditions unique to their families and continue to create traditions unique to one another.
The military is founded on tradition. Tradition that, archaic to some, creates a bond unlike any other. These traditions are proven, practical and steadfast. They create an elite group, a self-sacrificing group, a group that survives by remaining a whole. With each generation, there may be a new tradition created or brought in, but the basic values and morals always remain.
It is with these traditions and our own that my husband and I have created the values we hope to leave our next generation. My husband, always the soldier, maintains his integrity, demands respect and models a hearty work ethic. He, like so many others in the military, balances this with a compassion and empathy for others that can only be shared by those who truly sacrifice.
For a civilian, like me, I look as an outsider at this group. I raise questions and create doubt about the lifestyle our family has chosen. My husband, the soldier, trudges along with an innate sense of how his part, though not always seen, contributes to the greater good. I become pessimistic about the unknowns that the military lifestyle can create. He vows his loyalty, maintaining that the Army will not let us down. I continuously bring chaos to his simple and balanced life. And, one thing always remains, his sense of duty to us and others.
I would love to say that my husband was always this caring and always this generous. But, I know better. He always had this in him; he just needed the right career, the right comrades, the right values and traditions to inspire him to become the man he is today. In spite of my obstinacy to remain a part of my own traditions, my own values, I have conceded. I have embraced my love for my country and am willing to share with others what the country needs. I have dedicated my life to my family and children so that my husband's absences won't be so obvious. I have opened my eyes to the enormous opportunity that the military lifestyle has provided. Our traditions are our own, but greatly influenced by the military traditions and values that have been successful for generations.