Proud to be a Veteran

When I resigned my commission fifteen years ago, I couldn’t wait to bid my active duty days adieu and head into the full-time Mom and writer sunset. I was proud of the nine years I’d served after graduating from the Naval Academy. My jobs in the Navy had been challenging and enjoyable, and at times felt so natural to me that I couldn’t imagine ever doing anything else.


The call to motherhood came and for me the personal choice was clear–in order to keep my marriage thriving and provide the stability level for our family that I was comfortable with, it would require me to leave the service. Maybe if my husband had been a civilian I would have chosen a different path, but he was and is still, active duty. Active duty Navy, which means months away on ships or in squadrons, all over the world.

So with heartfelt good-byes I left the US Navy to become…a Navy wife. The first year was an adjustment. No longer the active duty woman in uniform, I was relegated to the back of the line at medical, the pharmacy, and even in the commissary or exchange where doing rush hours active duty in uniform have front-of-line privileges. As they should, of course. I relished time with my toddler son and before long we were blessed with his sister. The kids gave me a sense of purpose I’d never had before.

The people who meet me now have remarked that they can’t imagine me as an active-duty officer. The people who knew me as Lieutenant Commander Krotow have a hard time believing I went from the service to stay-at-home wife and mom, and now romance novelist.

I don’t see the issue. Because to me I’ve continued to serve my country. As a vet I can say that I know my contributions mattered while in uniform, and they matter now. Even if I wasn’t married to the military, raising and guiding healthy children to contribute to the greatest nation on earth is not only just as viable but essential.  From a global perspective, I’m raising two kids to whom I hope I’ve imparted a sense of self-sacrifice and healthy esteem. I hope they understand and live the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around any one individual or country–we’re all connected.

Where I learned the “we’re all connected” the most was firstly in my own home with a mother who always invited strangers to our Thanksgiving table or sent a meal to the hermit who lived across the street. Secondly, I learned it during my Plebe year at the Naval Academy.

I’m part of a special, privileged, blessed team of people who’ve served their country and indeed the world for the sake of freedom and peace. What I did to deserve this I’ll never comprehend, but I’m so grateful today. Thank all of you who’ve served and support those who serve. To the countless souls who’ve lost their lives for all of our sakes, thank you.

5 Comments on “Proud to be a Veteran

  1. Geri,

    First, I thank you and Steve for serving our country and protecting my right to do & say what I want. 🙂

    Second, you should know your support as a “Navy wife” is invaluable. My dear friend was a “Navy wife” for 21 1/2 years and her (and your) sacrifice goes unnoticed, overlooked and frowned upon. I know Dianna’s husband would NOT have been able to do his job without his wifes support.

    Veterans day is certainly a day to honor our military, but also a day to honor their families as well!

    I give my respect & honor to you all!


    1. Ginny, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and your gratitude. It means the world! And special thanks to your friend Diana for her service as a military spouse.

  2. Wow Geri – so very beautifully written.
    Thank you for sharing your perspective on a way of life, that you live and breathe, but that is not so familiar to those of us who walk in different shoes.

    This week, I have been focusing (in my k-5 music classes that I teach) on November holidays. We talk about Voting, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving, and how actually each day is connected to Thanksgiving and giving thanks. I get to be the one teach them our patriotic songs and the meanings behind them. We get into some pretty interesting conversations. (I am a bit different than miss Schafer in my teaching!)

    I have always shared from only a superficial understanding, my dad saw active duty in WWII and my grandfathers and uncles served during war times as well, but that was all before I was born. I never had a deep connection to our present military – as you do.

    My oldest son (19) is flitting and floating around the music scene – experimenting with what makes him happy (much to my dismay) while a colleague at school whose son graduated HS (2009) the same year – is now in Afghanistan serving as a front line medic in the army. This week, she was told of a Williamsville boy (21) who just sacrificed his life there and I saw a little closer – the sacrifices made for ‘the world community’ once again.

    I know you didn’t write what you wrote – to be admired – But I do admire you.
    I thank you and your husband and your families – for going and doing – what so many of us have not. Thank you for sharing your insights to help us understand and see life from your walk.

    Praying God continues to keep you, your family, and all those serving in His care and protection.

  3. Valerie, thanks so much for this touching post. This it what’s so incredible about our military in America–we are all volunteers at this point, and we come from all walks of life. You and I started out together as kids and we’ve seen so many go into the military from our HS. We are indeed all connected. God Bless the soul and family of the serviceman from Williamsville who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

  4. Geri, I consider it an honor to not only know you but many other veterans who have prouly served our Country and fought for our freedoms. As a volunteer with the DAV Winter Sports clinic I have seen the “sacrifice” many have given, via limbs, vision and TBI. I keep you all in my prayers for your continued safety and for serving our country!

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