Betty's Memorial Day Salute to Our Troops

A look at the lives of those serving overseas and their families

Honoring Heroes

Betty’s Memorial Day Salute to Our Troops

A look at the lives of those serving overseas and their families

-The Betty Editors

Whether or not you support the war or the policies that have deployed millions of our soldiers around the world, Memorial Day is a time to step back and salute those who give their lives to serve our country. They are men and women from all walks of life who risk their lives, leaving their friends and family to carry on and cope in their absence.

Betty salutes them and encourages everyone to remember them and their families this holiday weekend. Here are a few of their stories:

1Lt Erin Boone, USAF

How long have you served?

EB: This was my first deployment, and I was deployed to Sather Air Base, Baghdad, Iraq, for 120 days; I left the day after Christmas and just returned last week. My husband will deploy in July to Iraq as well, and he is an Air Force pilot.

Describe your days overseas…

EB: The workdays are long, but you don’t have the usual details of everyday life at home (commuting, making meals, cleaning house, etc.) to take care of, so you don’t notice the long days too much. We would work a minimum of a 12-hour day, usually more like 16 hours, but you bond with your team there at work, which helps pass the time as well. There is really nothing in your living quarters except a twin bed and a wall locker, so it’s usually more interesting to be at work with your new “family” instead of going back to your room.

What was the most difficult part of being away from your family?

EB: Being newlyweds in the military, my husband and I have already spent so much time apart, and we finally received orders last fall to be stationed together. About two weeks after he arrived, my deployment tasking came down telling me that I had to leave again. We’ve gotten wonderful at having a long-distance relationship, but it was really hard for me to leave Nathan again just three months after finally being stationed together for the first time since we met. With him leaving again in July, we have really learned to make the most of our time together and relish the time we do have so that we can have those memories to look back on when we’re apart.

What’s the most helpful thing anyone said or did to help support you/your husband in each other’s absence?

EB: So many friends and neighbors pitched in to help … I was getting care packages from all corners of the country; people were chipping in back home to walk the dogs when my husband had to work the night shift; and when I lived there while he was gone, our neighbor would silently come over and mow our grass for me every time he did his own… never complained or asked for anything in return, he just helped me out because he knew my husband was gone and I was a bit overwhelmed. It’s really amazing how wonderful and helpful everyone is, especially in a community with a lot of fellow military or former military personnel. They’ve been there before and they really understand what it is like to be overwhelmed. I can’t even imagine if we had kids to take care of as well; military spouses really are unsung heroes.

Anything else you want to share with our readers about your family’s experience?

EB: Yesterday I lost a close friend of mine to an IED explosion in Afghanistan, and tonight all my thoughts and prayers are with her family in this difficult time. Please always remember the sacrifice of the servicepeople who return home, shake their hands and thank them for their service, these everyday warriors who are our brothers, daughters, neighbors, and friends. But please also keep in your mind and in your heart all those soldiers, airman, seaman and other service members who don’t make it home; those who pay the ultimate price for our freedom and the freedom of so many others whom we defend.

While I was in Iraq, I stood on the flight line many times to salute the flag-draped coffines of the soldiers and airman who were making their final journey home to their families. No matter how many you see, you never stop being moved by the sacrifice that they and their families have made for us all. Please remember 1Lt Roslyn Schulte and all of the others we have lost in this war and all other wars that great Americans have fought for our freedom. Keep their families in your thoughts this holiday weekend… they truly deserve our love, respect, and deepest sympathy for their loss.

Kristin Squires, Virginia Beach
Wife of SPC Matthew Finley
PA Army National Guard

How long has your husband been in the military?

KS: My husband has been a member of the Army National Guard for almost three years now. He enlisted in college, which is actually how I met him. This is his first deployment. Right now, Matthew is serving his country in Iraq.

How often are you able to communicate with him and how?

KS: Skype has been a godsend to us. Internet is expensive over there, and the connection is terrible, but it’s definitely worth it.  On my end, I make homemade cards out of scrapbooking materials to send over to him about once a week in addition to other letters and cards, and of course, the highly desirable care package. These handmade cards are his favorite, as he knows they are personally made with love for him, and he knows the amount of time, energy, and love that goes into each and every one of them. I also love hand-writing letters and spraying them with perfume or body sprays.

What’s the most difficult part of having him away?

KS: I think the loneliness is by far the hardest thing about not having him here with me. Mornings are tough, when you roll over and go to kiss him good morning and there is just an empty space where your man should be. It takes a second for my brain to register some mornings as to why he isn’t there. Also, there are so many times throughout my day to day life when I think “Wow! Matthew would LOVE to see this!” or “This would be so much fun is he was here.” I miss the simple little things, like going grocery shopping together, curling up together to watch a movie or having him here to comfort me when I have a bad day or when I’m sick.

What kinds of things has he missed and how have you dealt with that?

KS: Being that we have just gotten married and he deployed shortly after, Matthew has missed all of our important “firsts.” First holidays as married couple, birthdays, and my police academy graduation party. I have sent him a countless pictures to try to help him feel like he’s there, but I know it’s not the same for either of us.

He will also, unfortunately, be gone for our first wedding anniversary. I have a friend I have met online who also has a husband deployed to Iraq, and their first wedding anniversary is only two days after ours, so she is going to fly out and we will celebrate our anniversaries together so we’re not alone. (We have been planning this since we met in September!)

Anything else you want to share with our readers about your family’s experience?

KS: It’s hard – by far, the most difficult thing I have ever been through in my entire life, and you have to come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever be “exactly the way it used to be” again. It’s important to realize that, yes, your soldier has changed over this deployment, but so have you. And anything worth anything is worth fighting for.


Katie Dyer,
Corvallis, Oregon

How long has your husband been in the military?

KD: Fourteen years. He has served overseas five times: Egypt, Israel, two times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan. All were six months, except Afghanistan, which was a year.

What’s the most difficult part of having him away?

KD: Having to take care of a two-person life by myself. We have a farm and eight dogs, and it is a lot to care for them all alone. Everyone gets married because they want a partner, so to have that taken away for a year is very difficult. It’s hard to live without my best friend.

What’s the most helpful thing anyone has said or done to help support
you in his absence?

KD: The best thing anyone can do is say thank you. When someone in my life recognizes that I am making sacrifices, too, that means a lot to me. I am so proud of my husband’s service, so to have that recognized is very rewarding. Also – it’s nice to have my girlfriends tell me that they like my outfit, or that my hair looks nice… because those are things my husband isn’t around to say!

How do you cope with the fear that his life is at stake?

KD: Every military wife I know struggles with anticipatory grief. We all know which dress we would wear to the funeral, and what we would say to the casualty notification officer at the door. You can’t escape the very real and justified fear that your soldier will be killed. I just had to make peace with it. If he didn’t come home, I would have known that he believed in what he was doing, and he thought it was worth dying for. As much as I would have hated to lose him, it was not my decision to make. He chose to risk his life for something he believed in. Very few people get that chance – to stand up for something so strongly. So I had to support him that. But luckily he did come back safe – many of his friends did not.

Describe your reunion?

KD: Our reunion was wonderful. He stepped off the plane and I screamed involuntarily. I launched myself into his arms and cried into his neck. His best friend who deployed with him is married to my best friend at home … so the four of us went out for a celebratory dinner and sang karaoke all night.

My husband is not the same man that he was a year ago. I am not the same either. We have both grown and changed so much – but we’ve done it apart, while most couples grow and change together. The reintegration period is the hardest part of the deployment – and harder than I ever imagined it would be. I just have to be patient and have faith that we can get through this. But I don’t know how anyone lives through combat and is ever the same person afterward. I am grateful for all the sacrifices he has made – because he will live with them for a long, long time.


Melissa Langworthy

Lansing, Michigan

Describe your situation.

ML: I am a girlfriend of a soldier deployed overseas in Afghanistan. He has been gone for six months and was recently home for his mid-tour leave, still having another six months to go. I cannot say that it has been easy not having him here, but I know what he is doing is something amazing.

Do you have children, and if so, how are they coping?

ML: We do not have children together, but he has two daughters. His oldest is 6 years old and his youngest is 10 months. The oldest is having a hard time understanding why he has to leave.

He is missing out on seeing his daughter grow up; from crawling to talking. Which knowing that he would not get to see all of that I took videos of her for those three months and sent them to him. He cried when he got the first video, now all his buddies ask how things are going and want to see the videos.

How do you deal with knowing his life is in danger?

ML: Honestly, I don’t know! I am scared every day that I don’t hear from him. I try to think positive about it and pray that he will be safe. I know this is what they train for and that they have each others’ backs, but the thought is still there. I just take every moment and enjoy the time we get.

What helps you get through the hard times?

ML: I am so proud of what he is doing, what all of our service members are doing, and I will continue to love and support him. It brings me to tears when I hear people come up to him when we walk through the airport or when the manager of a restaurant comes up just to shake his hand and say thank you. It may be hard to shake those feelings when you see them walking on the plane, not knowing what tomorrow brings. It gives you a different sense of appreciation, but all of the pain you feel and the tears you cry are worth it!

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0 thoughts on “Betty's Memorial Day Salute to Our Troops

  1. Thank you for this reminder of the sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families. The National Moment of Remembrance is at 3PM local time on Memorial Day (

  2. This brought tears to my eyes — what a great look into the lives of our service people and their families. It’s definitely possible to hate the war and respect and honor the people making all the sacrifices.

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