Nov 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

By Stacy Johnson

I remember the day my husband came home to me and our 9 month old son and said he was thinking about joining the Air Force. My heart stopped and I thought of what I knew about people currently in the military...which was absolutely nothing. Many of my family members had been in the military but it had been many years since they were active duty.

We did our research by talking to the different recruiters from the different branches of government, speaking to our families and reaching out to friends of friends who served currently or were released from duty recently.

The truth is that I was against it pretty much from the get go, not in a defiant way but more reluctant. I didn't know anything about military life and I really did not want to leave my hometown and my family but I was excited about traveling and having a little adventure. One summer weekend, we drove to northern New Mexico, where his parents lived so we could visit with a couple who had recently separated from the Air Force. They told us of their personal struggles with, as well as some good things that the military offered their family.

When they left that night, we felt good about our research and knew that it was something that might work for our family. We knelt down before going to bed that night and told Heavenly Father our wishes; 1) that my husband would be able to finish his college degree and gain some valuable work experience, 2) that I would be able to be a stay home mom to our little boy and future children, and 3) that we wanted to do the Lord's will. We explained to our Father in Heaven that in researching the Air Force, we felt it would do all those things for us.

What happened since that day will forever be in my heart as the event that defined our marriage direction and our little family. We stood up from that prayer and it was very clear that joining the Air Force was the thing to do. A few months later, I stood at the airport telling him goodbye as he left for boot camp.  Those may have been the longest weeks of my life.

AFC Ben Johnson and Vance age 14 months 
We spent just under four years in the Air Force stationed the entire time at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM. (So much for my dream of traveling, ha ha.) I can't even  go into detail about all the great things that happened during those years, because there are so many. I still remember doing our taxes after that first year and wondering how it could be that after one year of military service, we made half the income we had when we were both working almost full time and going to school as civilians. In the military I was able to be a stay at home mom while taking a few classes and Ben worked and went to school full time. We struggled. Really struggled financially but at the same time learned to lean on each other for our emotional, physical and mental needs. It was a time of great growth for our marriage.

We were surrounded by some of the most wonderful and giving people I have ever been associated with. It didn't matter if they were civilian contractors Ben worked with, neighbors, friends or those we went to church with, we were always watched over. Our family never went without even if it didn't seem like we had much. The people serving in the military are some of the most giving and self-less people I have ever associated with.

My husband never served in a time of war, he never traveled outside the US and we weren't in for very long but I am forever grateful we took the leap of faith in joining the Air Force. It was an experience that changed my life forever.

My sincere gratitude goes out to those serving currently and those who have served in the past. Your efforts do not go unnoticed by our family; we love you, we pray for you, we are proud of you. Thank you from the Johnson Family.

1 comment:

  1. I was one of those military brats lol. My dad served in all of the most boring places you can imagine except for Germany. Reading your post reminded me of those traveling years. Sure wish we had gone to more exciting locales.


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