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.