Larry Blanken, Father

From Military Daughter to Military Wife

Larry Blanken, Father
Mom, me, Dad and Emmit

Weirdly lots of military guys

Each year, I try to call or visit my dad on Veterans Day. He was in the Vietnam War, 101st Airborne, and I enjoy thanking him for it. Well, that and giving me life, that was pretty cool of him, too. His father before him served in the Korean War, and my grandfather on my mother’s side was a bombardier in WWII. Mostly we discuss what kind of freebies he will take advantage of around town, and he tells me he can smell my feet from there. Thank you for your service.

While I’m not a big advocate of war, this military pedigree of brave soldiers makes me… I guess the word is ‘proud’, but more in awe of that extra chunk of dimension it gives to their stories.

Weirdly also this guy

This year, I am thinking of a future veteran, my husband, who is enjoying push-up hell at boot camp right this moment.

Rain Blanken Turner
Husband, fresh out of training.

I know he’s been awake since, oh, 4:30 this morning and that by noon he will have run more laps than I have in my life.

My father and grandfathers were mired in deployments to foreign wars, and if I’m lucky, my husband won’t have to experience the same. But I imagine that all soldiers have probably, at least once, shoveled rice and beans into their mouth while a sergeant screams ‘choke it down, taste it later!’ in their ear, as my husband’s last letter detailed. That at least deserves a kudos every November.

I realize, now, that aside from the incredible war stories I have heard from my father and grandfathers, a soldier’s new life starts the first day they walk into boot camp and drop their bag on the ground for inspection. I’m thankful every day that they are out there doing it so I don’t have to.

This new experience, as a military wife, has broadened my notions of what it means to serve in the military. It starts with the motivation to improve your self, family, and country. The whole family serves back home, as my children and I navigate life without my husband.

The weirdest part is that this guy who once at a pizza while holding my hair for me as I barfed into a trashcan at a music festival in broad daylight will now be a trained killing machine.

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