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We owe them love, gratitude and respect

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- While all DOD observances are important, I can think of none more fitting - and more justified - than the one we celebrate today. Today we will join with other services and military installations around the world to celebrate Military Spouse Day.

It would be impossible for me to put into words how much our military spouses mean to us. Theirs is not an especially easy life, and they did not raise their right hands and swear to "protect and defend the constitution." However, their commitment is no less real, their zeal no less enthusiastic and their contributions are no less vital.

In the military, we like to talk about contingency planning, but we have nothing on our spouses when it comes to adaptation. They are proven experts at dealing with everything that comes their way, whether it be rapid deployments, a seemingly last-minute PCS move to who-knows-where, or a half dozen unexpected guests at the dinner table.

In many ways, military spouses have the toughest mission of all. While we are deployed and free to concentrate on the tasks at hand, more often than not they are the ones left behind to keep the home fires burning, while at the same time making sure the flames never get out of control. They are professional jugglers, even when they run out of hands.

They can keep a home, balance the checkbook, coach a T-Ball game, dry a fallen tear, help with the homework and work a full-time job. Many are Airmen as well. These dual military couples do double duty for their country. It is tough to be an Airman and a spouse at the same time.

Make no mistake about it: military spouses stand behind no servicemember. They stand alongside each of us, making our jobs and our personal lives more fulfilling. They prove on a daily basis one does not need to wear a uniform either to serve or to persevere.
They do both exceedingly well.

We owe our military spouses so much more than one day in their honor. We owe them our daily gratitude and love. Even more, we owe them our respect.

Thanks again for all you AND YOUR SPOUSE do. Happy Mother's Day.