The wind beneath my wings

by Dutch, Prattville, AL

My lovely bride of more than 21 years, Kate, is the �Wind Beneath My Wings.� Kate is my lover, my trusted partner, the devoted mother of our three wonderful children…and, my very best friend! Absolutely yes, she is most definitely my Valentine!

I have served in the military for more than 21 years. As I prepare for a six-month tour in Baghdad, Iraq, Kate continues her role as our family�s stalwart pillar of strength. I am scheduled to depart on 12 March, 2007 and to return in early October.

Long ago, God extra-specially chose her for me. Kate is certainly a much better person than I. Every day she makes me strive to be a better man, husband, father, and military officer. She does not try to change me. Yet, she has changed me. She continually encourages and supports me, and most importantly, she completes me. Amazingly though, it never appears that she realizes any of this.

Twenty-two years ago, she said yes. After growing up on a small farm in rural North Dakota, Kate could have easily chosen the familiar stability of her hometown, and a quiet, predicable and comfortable life. Instead, she allowed me to place an engagement ring on her finger. Six months later, she became my wife. As a result, I am unquestionably the luckiest man in the world. Even after over two decades together, she ensures our love continues to grow. Each day, she still holds hands, hugs and smooches with me. What I enjoy most of all is that she fits in my arms perfectly. Her hands fit in mine perfectly. I�m ever reminded the best is yet to come.

You see, Kate is the only beautiful woman I know. I am continually enthralled with her. With her affectionate smile…her adorable blue or green eyes (color dependent upon her mood)…her incredible intuition…her soft brown hair…and her fair, graceful neck (that is so delightfully fun to kiss), she is an angel. I’m an average guy, with average intelligence and average looks. Can you guess who is getting the better end of this deal?

She has never asked for better than the unpaved, rutted road we have marched through life. She maintains the uncanny ability to look at every new assignment as another grand adventure. During our military career together, as a military spouse she has been unpaid…unrecognized. She deserves more, so very much more.

Ultimately, she has made it possible for me to serve. Within our �military marriage� I volunteered. She did not. Yet, she has already twice before endured the countless sacrifices and uncertainties associated with deployment separation. This year, she will once again lead our family alone, while I perform a lengthy tour of duty many thousands of miles away. However, despite hardships, she has never once complained. She strongly believes in institution and appreciates meaningful tradition. She possesses unwavering patriotism–faithfully proud of her country and bleeding Air Force blue.

YES! My lovely bride Kate is, and always remains, the Wind Beneath My Wings!