I had the honor of meeting the Second Lady Karen Pence. It was a surreal day because the gathering took place in Hangar 3, the same hangar where just a few months earlier, I greeted my husband home from a deployment in Iraq.
I boarded the same type of white school bus at the PX that took my husband to the airfield to start his tour overseas. I couldn’t help but imagine what must have been going through his head and the thousands of other soldiers who ride these buses out to deploy.
Today wasn’t about soldiers though. It was about military spouses. The white school bus dropped us off in front of Hangar 3. I briefly looked across the street to the parking lot where I had anxiously parked to await my husband’s arrival. I remember doing the drive-bys to find the best route to get to Hangar 3 on time. Only a few months ago I was toting my son inside the hangar. We waited in the heat that only September in South can bring: sweat dripping, make up melting, dreading my choice of dress (who picks jersey material in summer?).
This time, we waited on a chill morning surrounded by men and women eagerly waiting for the Second Lady. Military Spouses are experts at “hurry up and wait” – the military’s secret mantra. We arrive early to events only to hear the people we’re waiting to greet are delayed. No worries. We easily chat with whoever else is next to us, browse our phones, or take in the feeling of anticipation. Our time has finally come.
A solider stands on the podium and announces that Mrs. Pence is 10 minutes out. Groups of spouses finish taking pictures in front of the giant American Flag that covers the back wall of Hangar 3. Two Airborne flags grace the sides of the American one.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the solider says, “I’m excited to announce we’re five minutes out.”
The crowd cheers.
Political opinions aside, there’s something special about someone so high up in government coming to appreciate us – the wives and husbands of our country’s soldiers. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, no matter what their job is. Our job (one of many but arguably the most important) is to support our spouses who serve. Our soldiers who volunteered to put their lives on the line if need be to sacrifice for our country.
To the outside world, my life may seem simple, boring even. I know I could be out there conquering the business world. And in a way I did. But I take pride in serving my country by supporting my husband.
Before my husband signed up for the Army, he asked me if I would stay with him. We were only dating at the time and I said I would. It was a decision we made together, like Karen and Mike Pence’s decision to take the job of Vice President.
Spouses can often be overlooked in their importance in the military system but Pence recognized our sacrifice in a real way. Her words today made us feel like we are important because when we succeed, our spouses succeed, and therefore our country succeeds.
Pence said we serve with “pride, strength, and determination.” Those words meant a lot to me because I believe I put those attributes towards every job I do, not just in being a military spouse.
The Second Lady Takes On Military Spouse Employment
Pence talked about the various ways she’s tackling military spouse employment. She talked about two initiatives to help spouses keep their careers strong.
One is calling out companies to hire military spouses and break down stigmas of hiring a military spouse. The other is making inter-state licensure for military spouses so they do not have to re-apply for an occupational license every time they have a permanent change of station (PCS).
These two are important and relevant initiatives to take on. I know from the results of the military spouses in STEM survey. I’m glad to hear the government is taking our brains and ability seriously and that they have someone personally manning the helm.
“[Military Spouses] are the type of people we want to hire.”Second Lady Mike Pence
Pence concluded her speech telling us, “you are the type of people we want to hire.” I know it’s true and I’m glad to hear Mrs. Pence thinks so too.
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