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I grew up in a patriotic family with a deep appreciation and love for our country and service members. Although both of my Grandfathers served in World War II, I did not grow up in a military family or in a military town.  I just assumed the annual “Army/Navy” game was played by Army guys coming off the battlefields and the Navy guys coming off  the ships. Imagine my surprise when I started dating a Navy guy!

Navy AcademyIt wasn’t until I became a Navy spouse in 1998 that I was exposed to the military world, of which I quickly learned the “Army/Navy” game is almost as important as Church on Christmas Eve.

Although 70% of military families live off base in the “civilian community” there’s still a strong bond in the military world. Since becoming a military spouse my patriotism grew as my awareness increased of what our service members do to protect our freedom. I am constantly in awe of the resiliency of our service members, their families and most of all – our children.

My children are growing up surrounded by military and civilian friends and I am so grateful to see their appreciation for service and our Country.  When we attend home football games at the United States Naval Academy it is tradition for the kids to run up and down the side hills of the stadium while the teams are warming up.  However, when the USNA Choir starts to sing the National Anthem, it warms my heart to look across the field to see our 10 year old daughter and 7 year old son stop playing and immediately hold their hand over their heart while singing.  They are my inspiration for patriotism.

As we celebrate our independence this week,  I think about the service members who are not home to attend the annual 4th of July Barbecue.  These service men and women are my inspiration for patriotism. 

Jen and Eddie

I give the kids whose dads are deployed an extra hug because I know it just stings a little bit more when everyone at the BBQ has their dad playing catch and their parent is away serving our country. These military children are my inspiration for patriotism.   

I look at my children and think how much harder it would be to see them deploy, therefore I pray for all the moms and dads out there who are missing their child who is currently serving or lost their life serving our Country. These parents of service members are also, my inspiration for patriotism.

For my fellow military spouses who continue to celebrate and appreciate our freedom, even when their spouse is gone more than they are home.  These military spouses are my constant inspiration for patriotism. 

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I am  grateful that my family is able to celebrate 4th of July together this year, because as a military spouse, I do not take these moments for granted.  My husband, a true patriotis and always will be, my inspiration for patriotism.

Happy 4th of July – Hugs, Jen

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For more information on how to connect with your service member, please check out the e-book called “Everyone Serves: A Handbook for Family and Friends of Service Members During Pre-Deployment, Deployment and Reintegration.” http://www.everyoneservesbook.com/

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Follow Blue Star Families on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/BlueStarFamilies, Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/bluestarfamily, and Google+, https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/101801285362617672361/101801285362617672361/posts and build a support network so you can keep your family and personal community strong throughout the duration of the entire deployment life cycle.

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