I am being compensated for this post as part of the Operation In Touch Brand Ambassador Program via MSB New Media. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Military life for a military spouse or significant other can range from a few years to a few decades. In those years, there may be multiple PCS moves, deployments, reunions, happy moments, sad moments, and make-you-crazy moments. What we all know to be true is that military life is finite. The service member will finish his or her time, and then you’ll be “normal folks” again. It will come to an end one day before you know it. I’d like to think there are a couple of things special to military life that military spouses and significant others should do before it’s over.
Here are 10 Events Military Spouses Should Experience At Least Once.
1) A Military Ball
See your service member in their dress uniform, get dolled up like a movie star, and attend a formal military ball. If not for the tradition, then for the dinner and dancing. This is a date nigh worth attending at least once.
2) A Command Holiday party
A much more informal version of a command get together, the command holiday party is great for meeting other couples in a somewhat semi-formal setting. There shouldn’t be too many formal traditions, the ones I have been to have had great food, dessert, drinks, prizes, dancing, and holiday cheer.
3) A Change of Command ceremony
I’ve been to smaller change of commands and larger change of commands. They typically don’t invite outside family members but if you happen to drive by the major ones on base, you’ll see that there’s a lot of pomp and circumstance. I’ve seen roads shut down, cannons firing, parade marches, it’s impressive to see.
4) An FRG meeting
Yes, even if you have had a lousy FRG experience, I recommend attending an FRG meeting at least once at every new duty station. You have to remember, the FRG leader is a volunteer position and resources are limited. Check out a meeting and see what it’s like. If it’s not good, you can always volunteer yourself to help.
5) A Promotion Ceremony
If your service member is in long enough to promote, try to attend their promotion ceremony. Bring the camera and take lots of pictures because this will be such a proud moment for your service member.
6) A Drive Around Base (all of the base)
I recently wrote a post called “10 Signs You’re at an Awesome Duty Station”, and part of it had me driving around our current base and duty station. There were so many things I hadn’t discovered about it even though we had been there for YEARS. Once you get on base, turn off the GPS, and get yourself wander-lost.
7) A major MWR event
These events are typically base wide and have lots to offer. 4th of July celebrations, 5K or 10K walk/runs, car shows, air shows, etc, this is a great perk for the military community. It is usually of little to no cost to attend and more often than not, there’s something for every member of your family to do.
8) A Reenlistment
If your service member chooses to reenlist, see if you can make his or her reenlistment ceremony. Most of the time, the paperwork process actually happens at their workplace. However, they can choose to have an offsite ceremony “for show”. My husband, who is in the Navy, had his on the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, HI. How’s that for significance?!
9) A Homecoming
I don’t mean just any homecoming, I mean for at least one homecoming, you should go all out. Big sign, balloons, professional photographer, hair and makeup done. No matter if it’s by a ship, at a hangar, or at an airport, take this moment and do it up big, because the emotions you feel when they return are just magical.
10) A Military Appreciation Day at a Sporting Event
I’ve talked about military discounts for MLB baseball games before, but if there is a military appreciation night for the city’s team, go and check it out. You may be able to get some discounts or additional perks for military appreciation night. Trust me, when the stadium is mostly military and the national anthem plays, you’ll feel a wave of patriotism like never before.
photo credit: Welcome home! via photopin (license) altered by semi-delicate balance