Silent heroes also pay

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Dillard
  • 22nd Maintenance Group commander
We have all heard the saying "freedom isn't free," but who pays the price? The obvious response is our armed forces' heroes.

We see them leaving for foreign lands to preserve freedom all over the world. We see them returning to their families; some are physically healthy, some are wounded and some have paid the ultimate price, their lives.

There is another group of people paying a heavy price for freedom. They are the spouses and children of military members, the silent heroes. They are often overshadowed by the servicemember's uniforms and ribbons.

Spouses do not wear uniforms of cloth, but uniforms of sacrifice. Their uniforms are decorated by the tears and sadness on their faces and pain in their hearts as their loved ones depart yet another time. They are heroes because their service is invaluable, selfless and endless.

Wives and husbands stay strong for their children to assure them everything will be alright. Again, they have to be both dad and mom fixing all the meals, running the errands, juggling everyone's calendar, the list goes on and on.

Again, they have to comfort the tears and anger their children cry and feel for their deployed parents in the middle of the night. Finally, when everyone else is asleep, they steal a quiet moment to deal with their own emotions of loneliness and physical exhaustion.

The children wonder where daddy or mommy is going this time, or better yet, why? They deal with the turbulence of permanent change of station moves - forced to leave their friends and comfort zones to start over again, and "fit in" again at another school in another neighborhood.

Unlike the spouses who choose this life, children don't have a vote in this lifestyle, but their support for their parents is often unshakable.

These silent heroes also volunteer in our military and off-base communities, from the Officer and Enlisted Spouses Club to the Phoenix Spouses.

To my wife and daughters and all the silent heroes who make and have made all the sacrifices to pay this heavy price for freedom - thank you. You are silent, but heroes just the same.