I am a military wife. A member of that sisterhood of women who have had the courage to watch their men go into battle, and the strength to survive until their return. Our sorority knows no rank, for we earn our membership with a marriage license, traveling over miles, or over nations to begin a new life with our military husbands.

Within days, we turn a barren, echoing building into a home, and though our quarters are inevitably white-walled and un-papered, we decorate with the treasures of our travels, for we shop the markets of the globe. Using hammer and nail, we tack our pictures to the wall, and our roots to the floor as firmly as if we had lived there for a lifetime.

We hold a family together by the bootstraps, and raise the best of "brats" instilling in them the motto, "Home is togetherness", whether motels, or guest house, apartment or duplex.

As military wives we soon realize that the only good in Good-bye is the Hello again, for as 'Salesmen for Freedom', our husbands are often on the road, at sea, or in the sky, leaving us behind for a week, a month, a year on an assignment. During separations we guard the home front, existing until the homecoming.

Unlike our civilian counterparts, we measure time, not by years, but by tours married at Pendleton, a baby born at Lejune, a special anniversary at Yuma, a promotion in Okinawa. We plant trees, and never see them grow tall, work on projects completed long after our departure, and enhance our community for the betterment of those who come after us. We leave a part of ourselves at every stop.

Through experience, we have learned to pack a suitcase, a car or hold baggage, and live indefinitely from the contents within and though our fingers are sore from the patches we have sewn , and the silver we have shined, our hands are always ready to help those around us.

Women of peace, we pray for a world in harmony, for the flag that leads our men into battle, will also blanket them in death.

Yet we are an optimistic group, thinking of good, and forgetting the bad, cherishing yesterday, while anticipating tomorrow. Never rich by monetary standards, our hearts are overflowing with a wealth of experiences common only to those united by the special tradition of military life. We pass on this legacy to every military bride, welcoming her with outstretched arms, with love and friendship, from one sister to another, sharing in the bounty of our unique, fulfilling military way of life.