This day has been a day I have personally looked forward to, Monday, December 23, 2013!
We will be uniting Military families, wounded warriors families and Gold Star families today with a free relaxation day and a day to meet people who have had to walk different paths in their military life.
To me, as I said this was personal, simply because when I was a military spouse, I never thought of wounded warrior wives or families of the fallen.. It wasn't a part of my life and I did not have any clue what these families would go through. Then my husband Jamie deployed and I learned oh so well what it meant to be a wounded warrior wife. It was a selfless role, it meant no matter how bad I felt, my feelings were irrelevant, my husband was laying in a hospital bed unable to eat, breathe, walk or speak on his own.. no matter how bad my day was, I was blessed compared to my husband who each day opened his eyes and whispered "I Love you" as he stared into my eyes. We spent eleven months inside the hospital each day giving thanks to God for the life we were blessed with knowing that Jamie was able to come home from Afghanistan after being shot by a sniper, even if it was to the hospital for the remaining portion of his life, we were blessed. Jamie never had any regrets of serving his country and welcomed his death with honor as he took his last breath on March 21, 2012.. a few days later I came to realization I was now a Gold Star wife as a man delivered a gold star flag and small gold star pin for my lapel.
Gold Star Pin History is below;
In 1967, an Act of Congress standardized the service banners and established the
Gold Star lapel pins to issue to immediate Family members of service members
killed in combat. The Next of Kin pin signifies a service-related death during active duty
other than combat.
On this Monday morning, I was able to meet and greet military families from Andrews air force base, wounded warrior families from Walter Reed and war widows from the east coast. As I greeted each person, I hugged them and welcomed them to a day of gratitude for being a part of our Military family and introduced them to one another in my effort to bridge the gap between each classification of family member. As many of the military families heard the stories from the wounded warrior families, one Military spouse said "I shouldn't be here, you should give my spot to someone else that is wounded, I feel greedy taking space." As I walked the wife back to the spa room, I told her " I can not imagine how you feel hearing these stories and seeing the faces of the people you have only read about on the internet or listened to on the news, this is part of the Military Veteran Project for our educational & awareness program, we want to bridge the gap between active, retired, wounded and fallen military fallen to create the unity that we all need. There is no reason for us to be segregated." The reality of this day hit home for so many people who attended, it gave them a new prospective on life and it opened their eyes to understand while they may be suffering in one way, someone else is going through a battle far more different than their own.
As we closed out the day nine hours and seventeen people later, my team and I passed out gift bags to everyone, our present to them from military supporters from around the world. We gave them a huge and told them Merry Christmas, we care....
There are no words I can put on this retreat we were able to have, all I can say is I am hopeful we can continue to bridge the gap between our military veterans and families to create the unity and awareness.
Sending my love to each and everyone of you and thank you for your support..
My name is Melissa Jarboe, military spouse, wounded warrior wife and war widow. Today and everyday moving forward, I will honor the sacrifice of our men and women who selflessly serve our nation.