On February 18, 1989 I met this cute boy in Washington, DC that had one dream… to be a soldier. Six days later he declared that he wanted me by his side as he lived out that dream. Five years later we were married. From that point forward just about every detail of our lives was defined by the US Army and my husband’s commitment to defend the Constitution and promote freedom.
For more than a quarter of a century he served America. That service came at a huge cost to our family and his health. Our 8th wedding anniversary was the first one we spent together. It was our 12th year of marriage before we could say that we’d spent more time together than apart. Our children celebrated birthdays and holidays, played sports, performed in all types of recitals, received awards, and traversed life without their Dad there to cheer them on. While the kids and I attended weddings, funerals, family celebrations, dealt with surgeries, sickness (including cancer), and often moved and settled into new homes and cities without him; he celebrated holidays, birthdays and promotions alone and sometimes in the middle of war zones. On countless occasions he helplessly listened to us cry over whatever hard thing was happening at home, or excitedly tell him about something amazing that he had missed, only to have the conversations cut short because he was under attack or the satellite phone or laptop he was on lost its signal.
My husband’s willingness to lay down his life for you and I, meant that he spent months and years disconnected from everything that he loved and that he was fighting for. It meant repeatedly starting over and learning new “normals” after deployments as our family adjusted to the impacts that war had on his body and mind. It meant that each member of our family has had to learn exactly what it means to come to the end of ourselves and be completely dependent on God’s strength to carry us. Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
My husband’s service still means that he has to fight every day through pain, for his physical and mental health to be restored as much as God will restore it.
But… he would do it all again. WE would do it all again. Because…
Galatians 5:13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
John 15:13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
There are so many veterans that have served this nation with a willingness to lay down their life, but only one is mine. LTC (Ret) Chad Anthony Calvaresi, thank you for your service.
If you know anyone that has served, please take the time today to thank them for their service.