Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary Sam, from AD and DW

Wow, Sam, happy anniversary to you! Who would have ever thought, twenty years ago, that I would be writing to you on such a momentous occasion? Twenty years ago TODAY, you, me, and Blaine embarked on quite the little adventure, didn’t we? Twenty years of ups and downs (mainly ups, thank goodness) and excitement and challenges and joy and wonder and stress and fulfillment. Sort of our own little patriotic ménage a trois, know what I mean? (Not that LIKE, you people need to get your minds out of the gutter.)

I knew from the moment I said my “for better or worse” bit that you would play a large part in our lives. I wasn’t sure exactly what that would entail, but I was eager (for the most part) and willing. I’m so thankful that it’s been almost all “better”.

Twenty years ago today, you accepted my husband into your fold. A bright-eyed, eager, college graduate, who had known from the time he was 12-years old that he wanted to be an Air Force officer “when he grew up”. I still remember seeing him in his uniforms for the first time ….. feeling so proud, sensing his excitement, nervous about what the future might hold …. Calling him Gomer Pyle behind his back because the uniforms were so unflattering, especially that green one, man, that’s hideous.







You beckoned, and we followed, packing up our possessions (not that there were many of THOSE back then, that’s for sure!) and our lives, leaving our friends and family behind, and driving clear across the country to start our life with you. Thanks to you, right off the bat, we saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, experienced a different culture of sorts, attended a taping of The Price is Right, realized we *could* survive far from home, and discovered that none of the southern California beaches we visited were anything like Baywatch, that’s for sure.

In return, you took this young, willing, enthusiastic young man and began to mold him into the kind of officer you wanted him to be. Introduced him to a world that was foreign to him, one of policies and procedures and security clearances and missile codes, but one where he felt comfortable, and enjoyed learning all the new things you had to teach him. You gave him opportunities for advancement, and additional schooling, both military and traditional. You introduced him to people with the same core values as himself, and allowed him to flourish in an environment so very well-suited to his personality and work ethic. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline to thrive in such a structured environment, and not many people can do it effectively, let alone for twenty years. I’m so proud he was able to meet the challenge head on and succeed.

Throughout the next nineteen and a half years, we made a lot of sacrifices for you. Moving every eighteen months or so (sometimes more, sometimes less) meant leaving many houses, friends, communities, and jobs behind. It also meant we had more opportunity than most to meet new people, make new friends, discover new things, and explore new places. Sam, you took us from the west coast, to the east cost, to fifty miles from the Canadian border. We’ve lived in places with twelve feet of snow and a wind chill of a hundred below zero, and in places where the heat and humidity were so high we thought we were going to melt into little puddles on the sidewalk.

We’ve seen Ohio in the fall, and Georgia in the spring; both absolutely beautiful. We lived in Oklahoma in April of 1995 and experienced the Oklahoma City bombing with our neighbors and friends; we lived in Alabama in the fall of 2001 and experienced 9-11 with no friends or family nearby. We almost moved to Amsterdam for you, and would have too, had a personal family crisis not kept us stateside. We’ve spent months apart from one another for advanced training, but haven’t endured the hardship of war deployment like so many others have.

In return, we’ve been very blessed by your constant presence in our life. A few times throughout the years we’ve been faced, like all servicemen and women, with budget concerns and the uncertainty of military reductions --- fortunately, we escaped unscathed, although many peers did not. 1992 was an especially stressful year for our career group, with many of Blaine’s fellow missile officers being let go. There is no price that can be put on job security. You took care of us during not one, but two extremely grave personal family health emergencies. Without you, I have no doubt we would have had to file bankruptcy --- or at the least, spent years digging ourselves out of financial-medical debt. No, we haven’t gotten rich at your doorstep, but slow and steady wins the race, right?

Even better, for twenty years, you have provided my husband with a career he loves. A calling of which he can be proud, and have the satisfaction that comes from knowing he is serving others. No, he hasn’t been to Iraq; no, he doesn’t fly a jet; no, he hasn’t taken a bullet for the President --- but like he says, there are many ways to serve your country. The fact he has done exactly that, quietly, consistently, and with pride, for the past twenty years, says a lot to me about his character.

Sam, I know a lot of people rant and rave about you, your boss, and all the things they don’t like about you. It’s a fine line our military members have to walk ---- working, fighting, and sometimes dying to defend the rights of the people who denounce the very system that protects them and enables them. I am amazed by the military personnel who can continue in the face of criticism, from those who have no business criticizing. I am buoyed by the support and caring of the many, many, more who thankfully recognize the sacrifices that are made on their behalf.

Mainly, I just can’t believe we’ve been at this gig for twenty years. From butter-bar to Lt. Colonel .... I am so stinking proud of him.

I know it won’t last a whole lot longer. As much as we love you, and would stay another twenty if you would have us, I know you have criterion that we are no longer willing or able to meet. Blaine’s health issues have effectively stalled his career, and while he continues to serve with pride, and serve well, we both know the end is in sight. Our children are getting older and we are no longer willing to pull up stakes and uproot them every few years. It is definitely bittersweet to contemplate the fact we might only have a few anniversaries left with you, Sam.

You have served us well. I hope you can say the same about us.

Best wishes and heartfelt care, on this, our 20th anniversary,

Blaine (AD = Active Duty) and
Kristie (DW = Dependent Wife)

46 comments:

Ann said...

Congratulations Blaine and Kristie. Bravo to you and all our military servicemen and women and their families. I have a brother who is a US Naval Academy graduate, is in the Marines and is headed to Afghanistan in a few months. I also have a brother who is in the Ohio National Guard and he spent a year in Iraq. I appreciate the sacrifices made by our military and their families.

Again .... huge CONGRATS!

Anonymous said...

A Big Thank You to Blaine and thousands like him who defend our freedom, and make the USA a safer place to live. Job well done!!!!!

Leeann said...

This totally moved me to tears. What an amazing tribute to both the armed forces and to your husband. I loved it, on both counts.
Blaine, thank you.

Leeann

Stephanie D. said...

Congratulations to both of you!! Twenty years with any "company" or boss is a huge achievement, especially in this day and age.

As an American and as the mother of a son headed off to the US Naval Academy in 4 months - I thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart.

Grandma J said...

Kristie,
Like Leean, I was moved to tears by your wonderful tribute to Sam and the airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines who serve with honor.

Kudos to you too, Kristie. I commend you for your sacrifice too. I currently live next door to Ft. Hood, the largest Army base in the USA. I see first hand the sacrifices spoused and families endure while their service member is deployed or uprooted for training or school. My granddaughter was so excited that her dad was home for her 14th birthday. The last one he was home for was her 10th.

My personal "thank you" to Blaine as he represents those who VOLUNTEER to defend and serve our country with honor. You have served us well, Lt. Col. Escoe.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute!

God Bless America and all who protect her.

Bridget

Sage said...

Wonderful words, Kristie! don't you just burst with pride at the sight of our uniformed men and women and the playing of our national anthem? We also spent 20 years in the Air force, and would not have changed a minute of our experience, as we learned and grew during each move or separation or assignment. Congratulations to both you and Blaine on your anniversary. God bless you and all America. ~marge~

Jen said...

Thank you for your service and sacrifices it has been for you and your family. I APPRECIATE what ALL of our military men and women do for our country.
GOD BLESS THEM ALL!!!

PS...I'd buy you a round of Sonic Diet Dr. Peppers if I lived closer! :)

~Jen

KirstyB said...

From one DW to another...FABULOUS post!! :) I hope to be able to say the same thing in another 10 years.
Congrats to you both for 20 years of faithful service to your country!!!

Jeanette said...

Well said, my friend!!
We love and miss you.

Anonymous said...

Well said.
Meg

Anonymous said...

Your letter made me cry, Kristie. Please extend my virtual handshake to Blaine, with a big "thank you" for serving our country.

Anonymous said...

WTG Blaine - Congratulations! Had no idea you were so close to being a full-bird, as I can't remember Kristie every mentioning your rank before. Close to the Canadian Border - Minot, right?? I've been with Boeing since 1978, and in the early 80's, I worked on the Peacekeeper program - got to crawl down one of those missile silos!! (Didn't like it much down there). Just wanted to take the opportunity to say a big THANK YOU for your service and your dedication and the sacrifices that I know you've made. And I hope that you find something for the next 20 years that will give you same sense of satisfaction - still think you oughta apply at Boeing!!! lizinsumner

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS and thank you to both you and Blaine!!!!! Wow, 20 years -- every airmans dream, isn't it? Way to go! Renee'

Anonymous said...

WOW!! That was powerful! How does one thank a person who has spent his adult life serving and protecting his country? Thank you doesn't seem like enough.

I want so badly to take your letter and hand copies to all those little snively-nosed Berkeley know-it-alls who are a few miles from me trying to shut down the Marine recruiting office this week. They have no idea what a real man looks like.

I'm proud to say my brother was also in the Air Force albeit many years ago.

When Blaine is no longer on active duty, I hope he enjoys many years of blessed retirement in the land he chose to serve and protect. God Bless all of you!

Dixie in CA

Anonymous said...

Beautiful letter. Many thanks to Blaine for his service to our country. And to you Kristie for your service too. For I know that he wouldn't have been able to do what he has done without your support.

Lisa in CT

Trisha in Leesburg, VA said...

And thank you Blaine for your service to this great country of ours! :) Serving quietly as you say, is serving nonetheless, and my family sure appreciates your dedication! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kristie, for your beautiful tribute to your husband and his 2nd wife-the USAF. (or are YOU his 2nd wife-is that how it goes in the military?!) I am beyond thankful when I see men and women in military uniforms. And 20 years is certainly an accomplishment in this day and age. May you enjoy your new home in the wonderful state of Oklahoma and may each day be blessed and peaceful because of Blaine's service and the other's who serve and so willingly to protect us! Enjoy! :) Patricia, GA

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Blaine and kudos to you, Kristie. My DH recently retired after 34 years with the Coast Guard. I said at his retirement that when you marry a man in the military, you may own his heart but Uncle Sam owns his body.

I know it's not easy sometimes being married to someone in the military but I also know, as you do, that the benefits so outweigh the hardships.

We, too, are forever grateful for the benefits that covered Marielle's ALL treatment. Where would we be without them.

Thank you to both of you.

Marie
www.caringbridge.org/visit/marielle

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written.

Congratulations on your 20 year anniversary...both of you! That's a huge accomplishment! Thank you for all that you do to keep us safe and for the sacrifices you have made to make Blaine's dreams come true!

I lift the Diet Dr. Pepper with rabbit pellet ice that I'm currently sipping on to you!

Lenaya

Anonymous said...

Beautiful letter! This year will our 20th anniversary together, but hubby just celebrated 31 years in the service. He's been overseas three times in four years and is getting ready to go again next month. I always miis him but I am so truly proud of his commitment.

I just did a scrap page with pictures of him leaving the last time. On the page it says:
Some people live their whole life wondering if they ever make a difference. He doesn't have that problem!

Thanks again for the tribute to the service and all it's members, including the spouses and children.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on 20 years with the Air Force, Blaine and Kristie! :) Thank you for your service to our country. :) It's much appreciated. :)

Kristie,
What a beautiful tribute! :)

Kristi

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Escoe family! To have not only survived military life, but to have thrived in it is a reflection on the people you are. Bridget from Canada

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Blaine and Kristie, and thank you for your service! This was very well-written and helps me understand why families are willing to follow a military career and all the changes that it entails.

Enjoy your weekend! Julie

Rachel said...

Thank you for all your sacrifices, my family and those not yet born owe a debt of gratitude to you and yours.

Monica (H)opeful said...

Yay for a real post about you!

"he has done exactly that, quietly, consistently, and with pride, for the past twenty years" Beautifully stated. Thank you Blaine for your dedication to this country.

jadine said...

I'm with everybody else: congratulations, and what a beautiful post! :) Thank you, Blaine and family!

Shanda said...

Congratulations to both of you!!! Happy 20th!

And... speaking of 20, does this have any thing to do with there being 2 "Dear Doctor" letters numbered 20?

Cate said...

Saaaaluuute!

Natalie said...

Well, that is certainly a milestone to celebrate. Congratulations, Blaine, and thanks for serving our country so proudly!

Brenda said...

Congratulations and Job well done to both of you!
Our AD and DW and family are only 4 years behind you, but on the enlisted side.
And I could not agree more with every single word you said Kristie!

Stephanie said...

Congratulations to you and Blaine on 20 years of service to our country. I have always been proud to be the daughter of a career Air Force Officer and granddaughter of two career Air Force Officers. Enjoy whatever remaining years you have with Sam...and know that Sam (and all of us) are grateful for your service.

Anonymous said...

Blaine & Kristie,
Kristie, what a moving tribute to your husband. Blaine, thank you for your 20 years of service to our country. I personally am grateful for all of our servicemen & women who put their lives on the line daily for mine & my family's freedom!
I stand at attention & SALUTE you both!!
Debbie S.
Hoover, AL

Tracey in Calgary said...

Congratulations on your 20th Anniversary! Many Canadians both support and are grateful for all the sacrifices made by those in the US and Canadian military...we salute you!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to both of you. Awesome entry.
Rena'

mom25in5 said...

Blaine, Krisie & Family.

2 Words...Thank you.

Grateful thanks from a Canadian ex-Pat who feels more at home here than anywhere else, thanks mostly because of the gift of patriotism shared by those around me who serve this beautiful country and make it possible for me to call it home.

Kim

cakeburnette said...

oh my...what a beautifully written post. I love your funny posts, but it's ones like these that leave me with tears in my eyes and so much admiration and thankfulness in my heart. Thankfulness to have the chance to know you and to get to read your words. You have such a gift and I, like so many others, am an appreciative reader.

BTW, before I figured out who Sam was, I knew IMMEDIATELY what AD and DW was...hmmmm, guess that comes from spending 35 of 39 years as a AF dependant myself

Anonymous said...

Wow...you guys made it. Can you believe 20 years has gone so quickly?! That is quite an accomplishment Blaine. Congratualtions. You continue to do the Air Force proud! Not to mention you still look hot in that uniform! Happy Anniversary!xoxo Kim, Kenny & Kids

Alice Larkin said...

Well Kristie, we have had an email or two about the Air Force in the past, but I can't tell you how proud of you I am for what you wrote. There are way too many folks complaining about our military now. The very same folks would be screaming for our military if a terrorist showed up in their backyard. My Dad served 31 years in the Air Force and I was raised in some very rare air. I recognize the patches Blaine is wearing in the pictures. That kind of job is often never recognized, but is exptremely important to our safety. I, for one, am very grateful for the rich life I lived as a result of my Dad's service. Going to church in a mountain on a base in New Mexico (Manzano), going into ICBM missle silos (Denver), and flying home from Tokyo (Yakota) on a KC135 loaded with caskets from Vietnam made lasting and life changing impressions on me.

I thank you Kristie and Blaine from the bottom of my heart.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your life with me. I feel like I know you and your family. Best wishes.

HeatherB said...

Beautiful Tribute Kristie and Congratulations to you both on 20 years!

Thank you to Blaine for serving our Country so well and so proudly.

Thank you just doesn't seem enough for all the servicemen and women and their spouses do for me, but THANK YOU! A million times Thank you!!

With Deepest Admiration,
Heather B. Ohio

Pam Doughty said...

Beautiful post, Kristie... and many, many thanks to Blaine AND you for the years you've given to all of us. ALL of us, supporters and protesters alike. I didn't realize Blaine was a light colonel.. but I'm not surprised. If the stupid cancer hadn't gotten in the way, I can only imagine what would be riding on his shoulders now. I do know one thing; he's a true gem, both as a family man and one who serves his country proudly and well.
Gratefully,
Pam

Julie said...

Congratulations Blaine and Kristie. My uncle is a retired colonel from the air force. His last placement was at Wright Airforce Base. Maybe you were there together. He loved the air force and loved serving his country. God bless men like you and my uncle and God bless the women and families who support them.

Anonymous said...

Dear Blaine and Kristie, Thank you so much for your love for our country. Not everyone can work a job and truly love their job. Furthermore, to work in a military job where you are scoffed at for defending our great country, we applaud you. You might not be on the front lines getting in the line of fire, but I think that you would if you were called to that service and for that we say thank you. We never want to take the freedom we have in our country for granted, so we send our thanks for your service to our nation. Congratulations on a job well done and blessings for the rest of your time in the military.
Tammy and Rodger in Ohio!

kim said...

What more can I say, except a simple, Thank You to Blaine and you and your kids, for the sacrifices you have made for this country.

Congratulations on a job well done!

*smiles*
kim in seattle

Anonymous said...

Way to go Little Brother!!!!!!!!
You make me proud
Thanks Kristie for being there through it all

Lsia