INTRODUCTION

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

Introduction

Virtually every individual has been touched at some time by a relative, friend or coworker serving in the armed forces. Everyone has heard the stories and seen the TV or newspaper coverage of tearful farewells as troops leave for battle, of children missing the daily routine with a parent, or of the lonely spouse keeping the home fire burning. There are currently more than 18 million spouses of the 30 million Americans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. These are the “silent ranks” that also serve as they remain at home nurturing the family.

Thanks to the high-tech mechanization of military equipment and state-of-the-art military intelligence, how we defend our freedom and fight our wars has changed dramatically in the last century. Instead of marching into battle to engage in hand-to-hand combat, we now utilize unmanned aircraft for surveillance, computer-controlled rockets, heat-sensing missiles and night-vision goggles. Reporters are embedded with the troops, bringing the reality of combat into our living rooms daily with graphic, live coverage from the war zone. These compelling images alternate between reassuring us and generating additional anxiety.

Methods of communication have also taken a quantum leap forward. Modern devices such as camera cell phones, e-mail, satellite phones, digital cameras and Web cameras enable spouses to remain in frequent contact with each other. Unlike our parents and grandparents who waited several months for a letter to cross the ocean, today’s troops have almost instant access to their families and loved ones. They have the ability to view the birth of their child from the delivery room via the Internet, or participate in a party by singing “Happy Birthday” via satellite phone.

What remains unchanged is the vast spectrum of human emotions felt by the troops and their families—the faith and fear, the love and loneliness, the pride and perseverance, the courage and camaraderie, the independence and uncertainty that are a part of everyday life.

The idea of producing Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul was conceived shortly after the horrific events of 9/11. We wanted to recognize and inspire the spouses of the troops who defend our freedom.

We reached out to the military community and were overwhelmed by the response. Thousands of heartfelt stories poured into our mailbox—stories about overcoming fears, helping other wives adapt to military life and giving back to those less fortunate. As we read each story, we shared the entire spectrum of emotions. We laughed and cried as we experienced their joy and tears, their faith and fear, their courage and strength.

The sisterhood of military wives portrays an ethos that is the hallmark of the spouses who devote their lives to supporting those who defend our country. We honor and deeply respect each of them.

We are grateful to all who shared their deepest feelings in order for us to publish stories that will acknowledge and entertain current military spouses and all who have gone before them. These shared feelings will also provide a legacy of experiences to encourage and support all of those who will follow them.

It is our sincere hope that as you read these stories, each will touch your heart and rekindle your spirit. We invite you to share, with every military spouse you know, this tribute to the pride and honor of those who continuously support our troops.

God bless America.

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