A soldier’s spouse reflects on marriage, sacrifice, and patriotic service.
When Cody (Your Soldier Your Army: A Parents’ Guide, 2005) first met her future husband, Dick, she was a high school sophomore enchanted by a dashing West Point cadet. Eventually, that youthful infatuation deepened into something more substantive, and Cody married the man of her dreams. She also embraced a professional soldier, and she quickly discovered the unique sacrifices the role of the Army wife demanded. Even before they wed, Dick was sent on his first assignment to Hawaii and then deployed on a dangerous mission to Guam during the closing days of the Vietnam War. He trained to become a helicopter pilot and was also sent to Saudi Arabia when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Cody learned to manage the stress of the danger and secrecy Dick’s profession entailed and to build a purposeful and busy life that was sometimes necessarily lonesome. She became involved in whatever community she belonged to, worked as a substitute teacher, and eventually earned a pilot’s license of her own. And while she didn’t grow up within a strong religious tradition, she leaned on a newfound faith to cope with the fear of losing her husband to war, an ever present possibility that provoked profound meditations on the meaning of her life. Given Dick’s meteoric rise up the ranks (he eventually became vice chief of staff of the Army) and the extraordinary obligations he had to shoulder, she also learned to cultivate self-sufficiency: “Unlike Dick, who, as he went up in rank and position, had an entourage that grew in relation to the number of stars he acquired, I was always an army of one.” Cody also became readily adaptable, moving 18 times in 33 years. Her two sons followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the military. She then encountered a new source of trepidation: her sons’ deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan during times of war. Written in an unencumbered, conversational style, this book is partly a personal memoir and partly a study of the ways in which civilians make noble sacrifices out of patriotic commitment. Especially given the United States’ many military engagements around the world, this is a timely and thoughtful offering.
An Army wife’s absorbing testament to the power of family and faith to weather difficult times.