I Had No Idea the Sacrifices that Military Families Make Daily!

author/source: Elaine Williams

Photo Courtesy of Elaine WilliamsI hope you had a fun Memorial Day weekend, whatever you were up to.

I don't think many people realize how almost all of us have been affected by war. I know that I didn't until a few years ago.

My dad was in the Air Force as a dentist. My sister was born at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.

I dated a marine...but that's a whole other story for another time.

I used to do comedy in a town in WAY way upstate NY called Sackets Harbor. It's very close to Canada and to Watertown where there is an army base, Fort Drum.

Photo Courtesy of Caleb Jones on UnsplashI loved this gig because the town was charming, the theatre was a former USO theater called Lake Ontario Playhouse and there were all sorts of cool 1812 war sites around.

I got to be friends with the waitresses who worked the comedy shows and I learned the "real" life of a military wife. They told me it was not like the HBO show about the military. I wish I'd filmed all of the conversations because they were such fabulous women who were making HUGE sacrifices that I had no idea was part of military life.

They told me that they were basically like single moms for months and months at a time. Their husbands would we off on tour. If they were lucky, they're get to talk once a week with their spouses. They developed a whole routine with the kids, work, etc.

And when their husbands would be home for a break, the whole family had to readjust which could be really challenging. If someone in the platoon died, the direct family members would receive a message usually delivered in person, but the rest of the community would receive an email about it.

I was so moved by what they did every day and I felt like the average American just didn't know the toll that this lifestyle can take on a family. So of course, what did I do? I organized a comedy fundraiser to help raise money for the Army community and to help raise awareness.

I got some other comics to donate their fees and we got the theater for free and we sold tickets and did PR. I was new at producing at the time but I did the best that I could with the resources I had at the time.

We ended up having a great show and we raised $3500. I wanted it to be more, but at least it was something. Here's what was amazing to me:

The entire community was so touched by the effort. I was invited to lunch on the base to sit and eat with 2 Colonels! (At the time, I had no idea what a big deal this was.) I think they found me charming because I wasn't in awe of them. I just talked to them like a regular person.

They presented me with awards and certificates and all kinds of cool army stuff. I wish I'd thought to take pictures but I was surprised that they were recognizing me.

Photo Courtesy of Chad StembridgeThe whole experience moved and affected me. It was a lot of work but I was so happy to do it.

There are so many people who make sacrifices to keep us safe. Entire families for generations have made sacrifices for us.

I wanted to share this story, not to "toot my own horn", but to share with you how much this army community appreciated being acknowledged, seen and appreciated. (I don't know if it was a platoon-they have their own language...)

I'm grateful we have Memorial Day to honor and thank everyone's service.

And I hope that we all continue to honor and thank people in the service throughout the year. (and their families)

With a grateful heart,


  1. You may or may not know that many veterans make it through their tours but then really struggle when they come home.

Many commit suicide or struggle with addiction and depression because of the conflict or trauma they experienced which BREAKS my heart.

If you know someone who is struggling, feel free to hit REPLY so we can connect. I have a podcast friend who's on a mission to help and who has resources. Yes, the VA is doing more but the VA is also overwhelmed.

Forgive me if I sound preachy. I am passionate about helping people and I hate to see people struggle.