I am a military wife - a member of that sisterhood of women who have had the courage to watch their men go into battle, and the strength to survive until their return.
Our sorority knows no rank, for we earn our membership with a marriage license, traveling over miles, or over nations to begin a new life with our military husbands.
Within days, we turn a barren, echoing building into a home, and though our quarters are inevitably white-walled and unpapered, we decorate with the treasures of our travels, for we shop the markets of the globe.
Using hammer and nail, we tack our pictures to the wall, and our roots to the floor as firmly as if we had lived there for a lifetime.
We hold a family together by the bootstraps, and raise the best of "brats," instilling in them the motto, "Home is togetherness", whether motel, or guest house, apartment or duplex.
As military wives we soon realize that the only good in "Good-bye" is the "Hello again." For as salesmen for freedom, our husbands are often on the road, at sea, or in the sky, leaving us behind for a week, a month, an assignment.
During separations we guard the home front, existing until the homecoming.
Unlike our civilian counterparts, we measure time, not by years, but by tours - married at Knox, a baby born at Portsmouth, a special anniversary at Yorktown, a promotion in McDill.
We plant trees, and never see them grow tall, work on projects completed long after our departure, and enhance our community for the betterment of those who come after us.
We leave a part of ourselves at every stop.
Through experience, we have learned to pack a suitcase, a car or hold baggage, and live indefinitely from the contents within: and though our fingers are sore from the patches we have sewn, and the silver we have shined, our hands are always ready to help those around us.
Women of peace, we pray for a world in harmony, for the flag that leads our men into battle, will also blanket them in death.
Yet we are an optimistic group, thinking of the good, and forgetting the bad, cherishing yesterday, while anticipating tomorrow.
Never rich by monetary standards, our hearts are overflowing with a wealth of experiences common only to those united by the special tradition of military life.
We pass on this legacy to every military bride, welcoming her with outstretched arms, with love and friendship, from one sister to another, sharing in the bounty of our unique, fulfilling military way of life.
I wear no uniforms, no blues or army greens.
But I am in the military in the ranks rarely seen.
I have no rank upon my shoulders. Salutes I do not give.
But the military world is the place where I live.
I'm not in the chain of command, orders I do not get.
But my husband is the one who does, this I cannot forget.
I'm not the one who fires the weapon, who puts my life on the line.
But my job is just as tough. I'm the one that's left behind.
My husband is a patriot, a brave and pride-filled man.
And the call to serve his country not all can understand.
Behind the lines I see the things needed to keep this country free.
My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do our kids and me.
I love the man I married. Soldiering is his life.
But I stand among the silent ranks
known as the Military Wife.