June 27, 2022

A life of service

By Mariannette Miller-Meeks

At the age of 18, I enlisted in the United States Army. During my 24 years of service, I served as a private, nurse and doctor. My father’s service in the United States Air Force inspired me to serve my country and defend our great nation.

During my service in the Army, I learned loyalty, duty, honor, courage, and sacrifice to the United States of America. The greatest way to show compassion to your country is by serving in our great military.

That is why I want everyone to take the time to honor our men and women in uniform this month during Military Appreciation Month. This month is meant to honor all that currently serve, all who have previously served, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Throughout Military Appreciation Month, there are specific days meant to honor the military and their families. One holiday that my family and I like to celebrate is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which is a day dedicated to military spouses who know the challenge of having a loved one deployed overseas.

Military spouses are some of the strongest people I have met. I understand the pain that many military spouses feel being separated from family. Military spouses must often spend months, sometimes years, away from their spouses while they are serving.

During this time, military spouses are faced with uncertainty and fear for their spouses’ safety and wellbeing. My heart goes out to military spouses across the country who must navigate time away from their loved ones while their spouses are supporting our great nation.

May is a special month for all who serve and have served. Please take some time during this month and reach out to those who have served their country and their families. Give them praise and thank them for their valiant service to our country.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel with twenty-four years of service and a resident of Ottumwa who currently represents Iowa’s Second District in the United States House of Representatives.