Facing Unique Challenges As A Family

On this Veterans Day, we sat down with veterans and their families to see what effect military life has on a family, and what motivates these brave men and women to serve our country.

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David and Ashley's Veterans Day picture

David and Ashley

David, Ashley, Alexis, Mackenzie, Ethan from Kronenwetter, Wisconsin

David is currently serving in the Wisconsin Army National Guard and served 6-1/2 years of active duty with the 2-508th Airborne Infantry Regiment out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

It is hard for your husband to be away for a deployment. Everything that could go wrong usually goes wrong within the first month of his absence. I try to remember that I have the kids and my family; that I am not alone. My husband has his fellow soldiers and is going away to a dangerous and unfamiliar place. I think the hardest part while my husband is away is when he misses moments that you cannot get back — such as the birth of our second daughter. She was 6 months old the first time he met her. The all-time hardest thing is the what ifs... what if he's injured, what if he's killed, and so on.

On the first deployment to Afghanistan, it was letters and a phone call maybe once a week. During the second deployment, we wrote letters and he called home a couple times a week. We were lucky and toward the end of deployment number two, we were able to Skype with webcams.

Homecoming is nerve-wracking, exciting and terribly sad all at the same time. You are a little nervous about seeing them, which is so weird. You get butterflies in your stomach thinking about your first kiss in a really long time. It's exciting to get the house perfect, make signs, and pick out that perfect outfit for you and the kids. It is terribly sad when you realize that some of your husband's fellow soldiers will not be getting off the plane to be greeted by family... because they made the ultimate sacrifice and died serving our country and protecting our freedom.

My husband is going to continue his military career into the age of retirement or beyond. He loves what he does and I couldn't be more proud. My husband's military career has helped us get a great start in the civilian life. We were able to become homeowners by the age of 23. We have had the opportunity to meet some great people along the way. We have excellent health insurance.

However, with all of the perks comes great sacrifice. We cannot get back all the things that my husband has missed out on and that makes me sad. We lost a great friend this year, when his old unit deployed. My husband has lost countless friends and fellow soldiers. It was very hard for our family to transition into the civilian life, even though he continued his service by going into the National Guard. I have had to put getting my bachelor's degree on hold because I want to focus on my family and we don't have the money for me to go.

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