by Lisa Holmes, Head of Client Outreach • 6 min read
My daughter works for an ad agency. She recently asked my advice on a work-related issue, and this was my response: 100 feet at Mach 1, baby. Inverted.
Can you tell I’m married to a fighter pilot?
An Army wife might have said, “Keep your head down and your powder dry.” A submarine commander’s might have said, “Submerge!” It’s not your average mother/daughter missive, but hey, we know the lingo. We know it because we’re married to it. We’re one with it.
My husband, Dave, serves as First Liberty’s Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer. It’s my joy to serve alongside him as FLI’s head of Client Outreach. It’s not our first shared mission together. Dave served as a special duty officer, a diplomat, and of course, a fighter pilot, for the U.S. Air Force.
Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, a special day designated to acknowledge and honor military spouses for their unique and invaluable role in our national defense. It’s a silent role, but it resonates deeply in the history and heart of this nation.
I understand, because I’ve been there. When I married Dave, I was a partner in a national real estate management company. Our first assignment was in Japan. I left behind my name, my career, my income, my friends and family, my language, and my horse, in exchange for an affirming designation as a D/W (Dependent/Wife).
My new job: to support and defend the supporter/defender.
That’s the supply line. That’s what keeps our defense system strong and fully operative: when our troops and airmen are supported and defended with the same all-in commitment as their own for us.
As a military spouse, you know more than just the lingo. You know the risks they take, you understand the sacrifice, you get what it is they signed up for—because as a spouse, you signed up for it, too. Your spouse took an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. There’s a risk and a cost to that allegiance. There’s a loss of control over one’s own destiny, and that risk, that cost, and that loss of control, falls directly on the shoulders of the servicemember’s spouse.
We often hear that we are now living in uncertain times. In military life, with dangerous training, dangerous missions, regular reassignments, and changing administrations and policies, uncertainty is the name of the game. If a servicemember is deployed, the spouse bears the full brunt of domestic duties alone. If reassigned, the spouse pulls up roots and goes, with no job waiting that fulfills a higher mission. If the ultimate sacrifice is made, it’s the spouse that soldiers on, to face the aftermath, alone.
All of that is just part of the incredible sacrifice you as a military spouse choose to make. That’s why we stand in your honor today, ever grateful to you for bearing such an important burden.
Dave and I still consider ourselves in the fight, which includes fighting the good fight for faith. For us, this means standing up for religious liberty, especially by supporting First Liberty’s military clients, as well as their spouses. It’s my privilege to walk alongside them in what some consider the toughest fight of their lives: the fight for their religious freedom. Our clients are on the front lines of the fight. (We at First Liberty consider ourselves air support). And I’ve learned that the military spouse is in the trenches fighting with them.
We have stood with many willing to fight for freedom as well as their faith—brave heroes like U.S. Army Sergeant Phillip Monk, U.S. Air Force Col. Leland Bohannon and U.S. Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, among others. After serving honorably in their fields for the sake of our nation, they went on to fight for their constitutional rights against career-threatening opposition. Standing by the side of each of these courageous service members was an equally resolute military spouse.
Whether the conflict is on the battlefield or in the air over foreign soil, or right here at home, military spouses provide support, encouragement, sustenance and strength. They are the backbone of the fight.
And for the oath they did not take, but which they bear and fulfill every day, the nation owes a great debt of gratitude, and a heart bursting with pride, as we pause to honor these silent heroes among us.
As the daughter of a WWII C-46 pilot, the sister of a Navy F-14/RIO, and the wife of a retired Phantom F-4 jockey, I join the nation in saying from the bottom of my heart: Thank you!