Thoughts on Military Sacrifices

Some readers know that I recently retired and am living a "life without limits" here in Missoula, Montana. I say that my life has no limits because no one else is imposing their "limits" upon my time. It is, indeed, a wonderful feeling and, although I haven't yet fulfilled all my "retirement dreams," I am quickly growing accustomed to doing things on my own time schedule.

We have no control over our "Earth Time."

Time "marches on" and all we can do is try to manage our time to our best advantage. One of the biggest sacrifices I made as a career military officer was my time. In the military, the government "owns" all of our time. Twenty-four hours a day if the need exists. The greatest potential sacrifice of a military career is that the government also "owns" our "Earth Time," or at least they own rights to it. If the government chooses to put us in harm's way and we lose our lives in the process, that is part of the deal. The government compensates the family for the loss of life according to the agreed-upon financial arrangements.

It is little wonder that families often are the reason military people are forced to leave the armed forces. The possibility that we could be forced to give up our lives in the "line of duty" was always hanging over our heads.

I think I often "held back" my feelings and my participation in the "family" because I did not want them to become dependent upon my always being there. It was very stupid logic. My family and I paid the price. That time can never be recovered. The years when I was not present physically are empty; but so are the years when I was not emotionally present for them. I regret that.


Check out my Restless Retirement blog at Retired and Restless. You may also enjoy the Missoula Recreation scene at Missoula Outside


  1. Doug - thanks for your service AND your sacrifice. Growing up as a dependent to career Army then serving myself in the Air Force - I know where you come from. I can tell you as a child - I often wondered why my father wasn't there either - both emotionally and physically. I also learned as a teenager just how much the Army career meant to my father - as my actions were a direct reflection upon him in the eyes of the Army. Talk about pressure! Not only did I have to live up to HIS expectations - I learned that I also had to live up to the expectations the Army had of we dependents.

    But - I still ended up joining the service myself. As I matured - I also understood more - and I don't hold any of that against my father as I hope my children won't hold any of it against me either.

    Good post! Enjoy your retirement.

  2. There is a very good website that keeps track of your service with a living journal of your years of service that comprises of video, text, and audio messages. They offer you an educative and informative facet with creating a personal record of your experiences that will be a guiding force for the future generation.

    MyMilitaryYears - Military communication Service, communication with friends and family, Send and receive messages, soldier support


I would be very pleased if you leave a comment. I will read every one too!!!
Doug (Gruggers) in Missoula