It seems as far back as I can remember I have always loved Freedom and wanted sovereignty of myself, but for many years, I had a different concept of it than I do now.
 
I married a military officer who was a command pilot towards the end of World War II. When he was released from the military, he remained a reserve officer. Consequently, he was recalled for the Korean conflict. We were living in Clewiston, Florida when he was assigned to an airbase in Biloxi, Mississippi. I waited about six months before moving there to join him. We lived in a small apartment in the rear of a grocery store.
 
His military salary was quite small, so I decided to get a job in a local photography studio to supplement his income. I loved that job. I started out as a proofreader, then the owner taught me how to use the camera and strobe lighting and for a time, I did the photography.

The studio was in the center of town and Keesler airbase, and was quite large with thousands of soldiers. The studio offered one free photo to each soldier who came into the studio, in addition to having photographers going out to other towns. It was a booming business. The art department hired a half dozen people, plus a staff of people who worked in the developing department of the studio as well as a number of clerks in other areas. I was there for several months when the owner gave me the studio manager job.
 
I worked from 12 noon until 9 p.m., which provided me time with my children before dropping them off at the babysitter who lived on base. I enjoyed going to work every day. We lived there about for about two years when he received orders to go to Korea. We had bought a house and I planned on staying there, working and remaining in Biloxi during his tour of duty in Korea.
 
But both his parents, who were in their 40s when he was born, became ill. His father had a stroke and my husband was an only child. As a result, the military offered him a “hardship discharge” to return home to take care of his parents. He really wanted to remain in the military, as he loved flying planes (helicopters at that time) and wanted to go fight for this country.
 
We talked about it and I thought it was “my patriotic duty” to support him to fight for this country, and I decided that I would give up the job I loved and my new home, to return to Clewiston to take care of his sick and ailing parents who were in their late 60s at that time.

I adored my mother and father-in-law, but taking care of a man who was bedridden from a stroke and my mother-in-law who was ill and had become quite senile, was very difficult, in addition to me taking care of the children and the house, all the cooking, etc. I did hire some part-time help. At times, the help was unreliable and would not show up for the job. But I managed until he returned from Korea a year later and we placed his parents in a nursing home.
 
He was reassigned to an airbase in Smyrna, Tennessee near Nashville. He continued flying helicopters in air sea rescue but was frequently reassigned on temporary duty to other places. We remained there until 1955 when he received orders for a tour in Japan. I could not join him for six months and returned to Atlanta to be near my parents, awaiting orders to join him in Japan.
 
After four years in Japan, we returned to the states and were assigned to an airbase in Reno, Nevada, about 20 miles outside Reno in the desert. I really liked living there but again, he spent a great deal of time away from home on various temporary duty assignments.  I spent time raising the children, playing a lot of bridge, and was involved in wives’ club activities and going into Reno to see the shows there.
 
We were there two years before being reassigned back to the same airbase in Smyrna, Tennessee. I was happy to be back in Tennessee, near enough to Atlanta to visit my family there. We built a beautiful tri-level home and I continued life taking care of the children, playing bridge and being involved in Air Force wives’ club activities. We were there about a year when he received orders for a tour of duty in Vietnam. As an air sea rescue pilot it was his job to fly into enemy territory to pick up wounded soldiers.
 
When he returned from that tour, he was reassigned to Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio. For months, I remained in Smyrna and he would frequently fly home on the weekends. I eventually joined him in Ohio where he was discharged and retired from the military.
 
We moved back to the Atlanta area onto a farm in the country in a community called Ocee, which I have written about in other articles. The first year, he and I both worked for a motel managers’ school. He was a counselor and I became the director of the school before the school eventually moved to California.
 
Then in the late 60s, he and I divorced after 24 years of marriage. He remarried shortly thereafter and moved out of state. I remained on the farm for about eight years, raising our young son and operating an antique shop.
 
It was during and after the tour of Japan until his retirement that I spent a great deal of time studying and pursuing the Philosophy of Freedom, sometimes traveling to other states to study under teachers wherever I could find them. At one time, I took a course in Philosophic Research via correspondence. After retirement, I attended a graduate college for a comprehensive course in the Philosophy of Freedom.
 
During those years in the military, I supported my husband in his career and frequently received orders from the military outlining what the military expected me to do to support him as a military wife. I still have some of those orders. The last one was from Aeronautical Systems Command in Ohio, where he was a test pilot. Because I loved this country and the Freedom it stood for, I thought I was doing my part by supporting him.
 
However, the military and the U.S. government never paid me one penny. It did give him a small stipend included in his paycheck for me as his dependent, but never paid anything directly to me.
 
After we divorced and he was receiving military retirement pay, I applied for a share of the retirement pay. The request was denied, saying since it was not in the divorce decree I was not entitled to any monies from his military retirement. He was so angry I divorced him that he refused to give me one penny from his military retirement. Lo these many years later, the government has never paid me one cent for anything.
 
For the first few years, I was rather incensed over the denial because it was my decision to give up my home and good job back there in Biloxi to take care of his sick parents so he could remain in the military to go off and fight in wars for this country, particularly since I followed their military rules and regulations those years I was married to him.

I bemoaned the fact the U.S. Constitution prohibits “involuntary servitude” and I served doing my duty as the military told me to do, expecting to at least receive some of the military retirement. And because of moving around so frequently, raising children and taking care of his sick parents, I did not have a job after the one in Biloxi to build retirement for myself.
 
Because we were both in our early 40s when he retired, I did go on to start several small business for myself and make a living. But the fact remains that I spent more than 20 years of my life supporting a man to have a military career and fight in three wars for this country and was never paid one dime by the government.
 
In retrospect, I soon got over my resentment I felt when I was denied any part of the retirement pay, which is now more than 30 years in the past, and have lived without it. I paid my dues to this country without any compensation and have lived a long and interesting life. I understand what Freedom is and now have the opportunity to write about it and share my ideas with others through this wonderful medium by writing a blog. 

Now, just eight months after I began, I have been rewarded by comments from a few who read them, saying they have been enlightened about the meaning of freedom as a result of reading my articles. Not only that, but I’ve been receiving the recognition for my writings through newspapers and television appearances in the works.

I feel blessed and feel in the Divine Plan for my life, this is where I’m supposed to be and this is what I’m supposed to be doing. And all my past experiences have led to this pathway of conveying to others the meaning of Freedom while enjoying the Freedom to write about it.
 
Let Freedom Ring!

JUST ME,
AC

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0 Responses to My Patriotic Duty and the Path it Led Me (Issue 127)

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