You know you’re a military family when…

(Photo: US Air Force, Senior Airman Christian Sullivan)

Comraderie and comradery:  no matter how you spell it, if you’ve been part of the military – even for just a short time – you’ve experienced it first-hand.

You know you’re a military family member when:

  • You rush to mail your holiday packages in early November
  • You know the difference between Reveille and Taps
  • You wonder why the national anthem isn’t played before the movie starts at your local theater
  • Your furniture bears different colored stickers from many moves
  • You watch out for the newcomers and help them settle in
  • You have several sets of curtains – in storage – that may be perfect for the next set of quarters
  • Words like ‘alert’ and ‘suspense’ mean little to your civilian friends
  • You know by heart the Social Security numbers of each family member
  • You can speak a clear sentence and be understood using a string of abbreviations (not sure about this one? How about, “We’re going to fly Space-A and then take advantage of MWR before we PCS – it’s going to be a DITY move.”  If you understand this, you might be a military family member.)
  • The license plate game gets off to a great start if you begin in the Exchange or Commissary parking lot – Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming are often in abundant supply
  • Skyping in the middle of the night to reach a loved one on the other side of the world is normal
  • Your kids learned how to ski in Garmisch, scuba dive in Rota, and surf in Waikiki
  • There’s always room for one more at your Thanksgiving table, especially those far from home or separated from their deployed loved one
  • Your December memories include fluffy snow on one continent and tropical rainforests in another, and
  • You remember neighbors and friends you may not see again but are forever in your heart

Being part of a military family means that your life is rich with opportunities and personal sacrifice.  Our service members stand ready to defend our country and all it stands for at a moment’s notice.  Behind them are you, the family members who so often set aside personal aspirations and stand firmly behind your loved ones.  You give strength and support at home every day.  It is important that we recognize and honor your courage, strength and resilience and thank you – it’s more than a tagline; it’s the truth – “families also serve.”

By Katie Lange, Defense Media Activity