Reinventing Ourselves

In less than two years, my husband will probably retire from the Army. He’s not actually retirement age, the way that civilians count it. But he entered the active duty Army almost 20 years ago, right out of college, which means that he will soon be eligible for all the retirement benefits.

He didn’t mean for this Army thing to be a career. He had to pay off his ROTC “debt” with 2 years of service, then he was going to get out and go to law school, become a high powered attorney and make lots of money to set me up in a lifestyle to which I could easily become accustomed. But he kept attending exciting Army courses like Airborne School and Combined Armed Services Staff School, and in return for all those fun and games, he owed the Army more time in service. The next thing we knew, he’d been in for about 6 years and they were offering him a company command. Then 6 years turned in to 10 and if you stay in for 10, you might as well do 10 more and get those retirement benefits.

So here we are.

He could stay in past 20 of course, but we both feel like the Lord is leading us down a different path.

It’s hard to think about, living life as a civilian. I hear that y’all don’t have “To the Colors” and the National Anthem play at 5 o’clock all across your city. Children at play don’t know to stop what they’re doing, face the music and put their hand over their hearts.  And they tell me that your stores don’t have parking spaces marked “General” and “Colonel”, nor do military personnel in uniform have priority at the grocery store during duty hours.

Hmm.  And what exactly do you call where you live, if it’s not a housing area?  And how do you remember which identical house is yours if your husband’s name and rank isn’t tacked near the front door?

And when you go to the movies, nobody stands when the National Anthem is played right before the movie…because they don’t play the National Anthem!


I’m not sure how we’re going to adjust to life in the civilian arena.   I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.

More Mac and Cheese, please!


About the author



  • What we missed most were the commisary prices and the 30 days paid leave. Even now, I find myself once in a great while reaching for my ID card before I walk into a store. Old habits die hard, lol.

  • I’ve really missed “the 5pm stop what you are doing and face the direction of the flag with your hand over your heart” thing since moving off post during our last PCS move. We’re 4 years from retirement.

    God bless.

  • This is very interesting… I didn’t realize that OUR Army recognized the raising/lowering of the flag this way!

    When we were in West Africa all traffic had to halt and pedestrians froze while they lowered/raised the flag with the national anthem being played. Sometimes it was rather irritating, but yet very patriotic.

    You are so young to be retiring!

  • Janice- at every US military, in the States and overseas, the flag is lowered at 5pm and the National Anthem is played. The rest varies from base to base- sometimes you can hear the music from everywhere on base, sometimes only close to where the flag is. Sometimes a cannon is fired, too. If you can hear the anthem, you must stop driving (you used to have to get out of your car,too). If you’re outside, you stop, face the music and put your hand over your heart. My son has been known to salute with his light saber as if it were a real sword, held vertically in front of his face.

  • True. And sometimes, if you live on an Air Force Base, then the 5 pm (or 1700 for those in the know) music might start at 5:15, 5:30, 4:30, whenever those “in charge” decide to press the button. 😎

  • I hear you Lorri on the military taking over your ife. My husband went in for the same reasons……stay in long enough to cover the ROTC scholarship and move on. 22 years later, he’s still in. :)

Copyright © 2014. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.