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President addressed real-life situations that military families face

POSTED: May 1, 2012 12:00 p.m.

While many people I’ve talked to since Friday’s visit from President Obama spent hours on a mile-long bus ride followed by many hours in the hot sun to hear the president speak for 16 minutes, I’m happy to report I watched his speech from the comfort of my couch in the air conditioning while snuggling with my baby girl.

I was so disappointed that I missed the opportunity to see the president and first lady in person, but it seems to have been a blessing in disguise. Throughout the ceremony and speech, I kept thinking of all of those poor soldiers standing in the hot sun in their ACUs. I’m sure by the time the president took the stage, the soldiers were all grateful for his brief address.

That being said, it was encouraging to hear the president talk about his hope of making the transition from military to civilian life easier for soldiers. Since this is a transition my husband and I will be facing quite soon, it’s nice to know the president acknowledges the challenge.

The reason for the president’s visit also rang true to our family. Josh has used tuition assistance throughout his service, taking one class at a time, and plans to finish his bachelor’s degree and obtain his master’s degree using the new GI Bill. This is perhaps the greatest benefit the military offers to veterans. The opportunity to get higher education without burying yourself in debt is priceless. We’re very thankful for the privilege.

Because let’s face it, when transitioning from the infantry to the civilian world, your options can be limited. Josh is fortunate to have a great work history prior to the military, but those young men who joined right out of high school have limited transferrable skills. Unless you want to work in security or law enforcement, your best bet is probably pursuing a higher education and using the skills developed in the Army to complement that education.

Many of us have a rough ride ahead, and it’s so nice to know that our nation will continue to honor veterans even after their time of service. After all, they deserve it.

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