Military Spouses Handle Challenges At Home Military spouses — most often wives — contend with frequent moves, long separations, and the stress of managing households and family alone. And when a soldier is injured while serving, many military spouses must become the primary breadwinners, and in many cases, caregivers, as well.
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Military Spouses Handle Challenges At Home

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Military Spouses Handle Challenges At Home

Military Spouses Handle Challenges At Home

Military Spouses Handle Challenges At Home

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Military spouses — most often wives — contend with frequent moves, long separations, and the stress of managing households and family alone. And when a soldier is injured while serving, many military spouses must become the primary breadwinners, and in many cases, caregivers, as well.


Gina Rinder, spouse of soldier Sean Rinder
Judith Markelz, director, Warrior and Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio


This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

At the best of times, a military marriage usually means relocation every couple of years or so, which can mean giving up a career of your own. And for almost 10 years now, military spouses face the flipside of long and repeated deployments, loneliness and constant dread.

Too often, military spouses suddenly find themselves recast as the primary breadwinner and, in many cases, as a caregiver and as an advocate, as well.

Tomorrow, the armed forces mark Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Today, we want to hear from military spouses. Call and tell us what we don't get about your life. 800-989-8255 is the phone number. Email us, You can also join the conversation on our website. Go to Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Later in the program, should we celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden? Clarence Page will join us. But first, military spouses, and we begin with Gina Rinder. Her soldier husband served two deployments in Iraq since 2006 and is now being treated for brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Gina Ringer joins us from member station KUVO in Denver. And nice to have you today on TALK OF THE NATION.

Ms. GINA RINDER: It's nice to be here, thank you.

CONAN: And is it Rinder or Rinder? Do I have it right?

Ms. RINDER: It's Rinder.

CONAN: Rinder, okay, good. I understand your plan was that your husband Sean would be career military. When did you realize that was going to have to change?

Ms. RINDER: After the 2008 deployment, he was having a lot of memory problems, back problems, emotional issues that came up from the brain injury, and we just realized it was time to retire.

CONAN: I understand that there was also the prospect of a third deployment.

Ms. RINDER: There was. He was getting close to that third deployment. We were trying to get him help, and they kept saying he's still deployable. He was probably two months from that deployment before we finally got him listed as non-deployable and got him some therapy.

CONAN: Well, we hope that things are going well.

Ms. RINDER: They are, thank you.

CONAN: Good. And I wanted to ask, though: You were obviously familiar with this life before his deployment to Iraq and had plans and had adjusted to it. But that involves some sacrifices from the get-go, does it not?

Ms. RINDER: It does. If I had chosen to work, I would have had to quit my job every two, three years, start again. I chose to stay home with my kids so that I can keep their life as stable as I can in the military environment.

CONAN: Because even - there were going to be deployments, and there were going to be times when your husband was going to be away regardless.

Ms. RINDER: Right, it would happen.

CONAN: And then, of course, his injuries changed everything.

Ms. RINDER: It did. His original plan was to stay in may be another 10 years, make sergeant major, you know, retire happy. And it just - we had to hurry up and get our degrees and prepare for a new career. It was like instead of a leisurely 10 years to go, we had to - you know, we thought we might have only six months to get ready.

CONAN: Turn on a dime, really.

Ms. RINDER: It did.

CONAN: How did that change - when he made the decision, you guys made the decision to retire, how did that change your financial situation?

Ms. RINDER: You start trying to save everything you can. You know, you start looking for civilian employment. Paying for college became an issue because you couldn't just go as you can afford it. You had to find a way to do it right now. So it got tight.

CONAN: And what did you decide to study?

Ms. RINDER: I went in to study psychology. I ended up with a degree in criminal justice. So I chose to - I want to get into victim advocacy, working with crime victims.

CONAN: I would guess that there's an aspect of advocacy that you had to take up on your husband's behalf, as well.

Ms. RINDER: There is. We'd go into all these appointments, and I think the issue a lot of times, was the doctors we would see are officers. And he'd - I don't think he felt right about challenging them and pushing them and saying: I need something more than this. I need more therapy. I need more help. So I would take that role.

CONAN: And that's a difficult transition, too. You're changing a fundamental part of your relationship.

Ms. RINDER: It is. You don't want to feel like you're micromanaging his life, but you want to do what you can to help.

CONAN: And now as you go ahead, you were going to be a stay-at-home mom, you still had those kids.

Ms. RINDER: I do. My youngest will be in school this year. So I'll be back at work. It might turn around that he's the guy who stays at home. So it'll be a total turnaround.

CONAN: In part, your education was possible through a scholarship for spouses of wounded warriors. Tell us a little bit about that.

Ms. RINDER: Well, I had gotten this email one day from the FRG about this scholarship from CTU, and...

CONAN: You're using some acronyms there. You're going to have to help us out.

Ms. RINDER: Oh, I'm sorry, Colorado Technical University. It was for spouses of wounded soldiers so they can get their lives together, get ready for civilian employment to support the family. And I went ahead and applied, and they are paying for my entire master's degree.

CONAN: Well, that's good news. I'm sure that changed your situation quite a bit. As I understand it, that is part of a wounded warrior scholarship program that's mostly set up for veterans who come back who have injuries.

Ms. RINDER: Right. Every year, Colorado Technical University gives 25 scholarships to the wounded soldiers and 25 scholarships to their spouses.

CONAN: And so has - were you aware of the other people in the program there with you in school?

Ms. RINDER: No, I'd never met any of them before.

CONAN: No, I mean, while you were there, did you get to know them?

Ms. RINDER: Oh, I did. There was one wife that was at our table at the banquet we went to, and she was going into the same career as me. So, you know, I thought that would be good. We can hopefully run into each other again and support each other.

CONAN: Does - at this point, do you expect that Sean is going to be able to go back to work at some point?

Ms. RINDER: At some point. I think it's going to be a while. I think he's going to - maybe part time, maybe take a break first, because he's made a lot of progress, but I don't think he should push it too hard. He needs to take time to heal.

CONAN: We want to talk, today, with military spouses, 800-989-8255. Email us, You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

And we'll start with Ed(ph). Ed's on the line with us from Newport News in Virginia.

ED (Caller): Yes, hi. I'll be very brief because this is really for the spouses to be talking. My wife, of course, and myself - I'm in the military. And I really just want to make two quick points. One is that the - these folks, the military spouses, while their soldiers are deployed, are really struggling.

I mean, this is very, very difficult for them, emotionally and practically, because of the fact that they have got to, in my case, raise my two - our two children, really on their own. And so they do a superb job. And it's interesting, the dynamic in which when the soldiers do come home, often there's people coming out of the woodwork that want to participate in the homecomings when they haven't really helped the spouse over the course of the 15 months or 12 months or how long the deployment was. And that, I think, causes some tension with the spouses.

I mean, they needed help, they haven't gotten it, and now the soldier comes home, and then everyone wants to gather around to celebrate, although they haven't participated in that sacrifice.

And the other quick thing, and I'll stop, is: you know, you're really hitting on a very important point, and that is this: We hear about the soldiers that we lose in Afghanistan and Iraq or wherever else. I think that we often forget, though, the incredible, lifelong sacrifices that are often excruciatingly painful, not just for the actual injured soldier but also for the spouse -whether it's the husband or wife - and also the kids that are going to have to endure this for the rest of their life.

CONAN: That's a good point, Ed. I wonder, Gina Rinder, we're talking about you and your husband. What about your kids? Are they of an age at this point where they comprehend what's going on and the extent of their sacrifice?

Ms. RINDER: The two older kids understand. They know that, you know, dad's got a brain injury that he's recovering from, that there's going to be a big change. He's getting out of the Army. The younger two, I'm pretty grateful they don't.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. RINDER: They're too young to understand. I'm hoping it doesn't affect them very much.

CONAN: And I was wondering also about Ed's other point, that during the long deployments, sometimes it gets really hard, and when Johnny comes marching home, everybody gathers round.

Ms. RINDER: Yeah, we didn't have any problems with that in my family because everybody was pretty supportive. But, I know there are a lot of families that the spouse feels forgotten during the deployment, and then when Johnny comes marching home, they all want to fly in to the Springs(ph) and be there to welcome him, and she's like: You know, what gives you the right?

CONAN: Ed, thanks very much for the call, appreciate it.

ED: Thank you.

CONAN: And I also wanted to ask this question about how much support you feel like you're getting in the aftermath, when your husband is on his way out of the military, when he's being treated for injuries.

Ms. RINDER: Now that he's made it into the warrior recovery unit, they're taking good care of him. He has a nurse case manager who oversees everything, makes sure he gets whatever he needs, that people - that doctors are helping him.

He's got a good primary care doctor who takes good care of him. He's got a good rapport with several of his therapists. The process of getting into there is a lot of work. It takes a lot of perseverance to get to that point.

CONAN: Is there a support network for you?

Ms. RINDER: I have my family. That's my main support. We have our church, too.

CONAN: And you feel like you're getting help there?

Ms. RINDER: Yeah, that - it's enough.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get to another caller. This is Rolf(ph), Rolf with us from Fort Hood in Texas. Rolf, are you there?

ROLF (Caller): Yes, I'm here.

CONAN: You're on the air. Go ahead, please.

ROLF: Hi. Yeah, I just wanted to share my story. I'm a dual military couple. My wife is in Iraq right now. I'm back home in Fort Hood. While she was on this deployment, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and I had to spend six weeks in the hospital.

And that meant that my wife had to try to run our household from 8,000 miles away. It's just an example of how difficult this can be on both spouses, really. After having four deployments, you know, I kind of met my breaking point, and thank God she was able to run things as well as she could from overseas.

CONAN: You're having a little problem with your cell phone, but do you guys have kids?

ROLF: No, we're actually very lucky we don't have kids yet, because we luckily only had to run a dog and a cat, and even just trying to find arrangements for them was nearly impossible for my wife.

She was trying to pay for everything through PayPal, trying to make phone calls and emails, just a real difficult time for both her and I.

CONAN: I can imagine the difficulties. Just the time differences make things almost nightmarish. Rolf, thanks very much. We wish you and your wife the best of luck.

ROLF: Thank you.

CONAN: We're talking today about military spouses, the sacrifices and their contributions. If your husband or wife serves in the military, call and tell us what we don't get about your life. Email us, Or you can call 800-989-8255. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan.

We're talking about military spouses, men and women on the home front who keep the family, the home, the business together and running while their husbands or wives serve half a world away.

Tomorrow marks Military Spouse Day, first celebrated in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan honored the contributions of military spouses. It's now an annual tribute the Friday before Mother's Day.

We want to hear from military spouses. Call and tell us what we don't get about your life, 800-989-8255. Email us, You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Our guest is Gina Rinder, her soldier husband served two deployments in Iraq and is now being treated for brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Most us understand that military spouses make sacrifices. We tend to think less often of the specific challenges of spouses of wounded warriors.

Many veterans can return from tours with missing limbs, brain injuries, emotional scars. Joining the conversation now is Judith Markelz. She directs the Warrior and Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, and she joins us there by phone. Nice to have you with us today.

Ms. JUDITH MARKELZ (Director, Warrior and Family Support Center, Fort Sam Houston): Good afternoon. Thank you for having me.

CONAN: And I wonder: How do the needs of spouses of wounded servicemen and -women differ from other military spouses?

Ms. MARKELZ: Well, in so many cases, spouses, particularly here at Fort - at Brooke Army Medical Center are away from home. They're brought here because of the severe injuries of their spouse, their husband or wife. And so they've not only left their home and transitioned to what is a guest house or one of the Fisher Houses, but they have left everything familiar to them to come here and be with their wounded warrior.

CONAN: You said Fisher Houses. What are those?

Ms. MARKELZ: Fisher Houses were - are built by the Fisher Foundation, and they are homes where families - they are buildings where families can stay free of charge.

CONAN: Now temporary location, as you just mentioned, that makes it difficult to anybody to sustain any kind of a career.

Ms. MARKELZ: Yes, sir, it absolutely does. For the most part, they start again.

CONAN: And most of them are starting with another career, too: caregiver.

Ms. MARKELZ: That is correct, and in many cases, that career will be totally care provider. Finding part-time jobs is extremely difficult, and they have to meet the needs of the appointments of their spouse, which is the first priority.

CONAN: And I wonder: What kinds of problems do they come to you with?

Ms. MARKELZ: Oh, they come to me with anything and everything. Even the smallest problems can become extremely great when you're in a totally different surrounding. And so it's everything from - in many - sometimes we've lost identification cards. Sometimes we need activities to do.

One of the biggest issues is we do provide child care, and so it provides a place for their children to go, and we have a school on Fort Sam Houston that will provide educational needs. But all those seem insurmountable when this first happens.

CONAN: Here's an email we have from Loretta(ph) in Marlton, New Jersey: As a new military wife, six months, I think that it's the civilian employers that must have more understanding of the spousal role in the military.

There are many times that we are counted on by our spouses for things they can't do, don't have time for, can't get time away from their jobs to do.

On the flip side, the military must also understand that we spouses also work full-time, civilian jobs. There are services and classes for spouses, but most are only offered during business hours. On the whole, we need support from both the civilian and military world.

I wonder, Gina Rinder, if that sounds familiar to you.

Ms. RINDER: I was thinking as you said that that I've noticed a lot of the classes they have are during business hours.

CONAN: Yeah, it's when they can have the classes, not necessarily when you can make them.

Ms. RINDER: Right.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get another caller in on the conversation. Let's go to Yvonne, Yvonne with us Slater in Iowa.

YVONNE (Caller): Yes.

CONAN: Hi there.

YVONNE: Hi. We had - I mean, both my husband and I served in the Army National Guard, and although neither of us was deployed overseas, I did see the problems that arose when a National Guard unit is deployed. Those people may be from all over the state of Iowa, not just from that area.

So their family support groups, you may have to drive 300 miles to get the same services that an active Army post has right there for the active troops. So that's a problem that I think a lot of people don't understand, especially for the National Guard troops that are deployed quite frequently.

CONAN: All right, I hadn't realized that, Yvonne. Thanks very much for that.

YVONNE: Okay, thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Here's Chrissie(ph), an email from Columbia, South Carolina: As an Army wife whose husband hasn't deployed yet, I feel really lucky. I know spouses and soldiers who have lost years of their marriages and years with their children from multiple deployments.

I'm lucky enough to be attending school, but I have never been able to go to a grounded campus. I attend purely online. My husband is an officer, and I have family funds that my grandparents set aside for my school. The Army needs to focus on spouses' education and care for their mental health.

And Gina Rinder, you were able to go to school at Colorado Technical University. That's a physical campus. You didn't have to take classes online.

Ms. RINDER: They have a physical campus, but the wounded warrior scholarships are for the online programs, so - which is really good for the military. You don't have switch schools if you PCS, move to another area. You can stay in the same classrooms with the same teachers and not end up like some of us, with transcripts from four or five different colleges. So it really is a benefit to the military.

CONAN: I see. It's a benefit to take the classes online.

Ms. RINDER: Yes.

CONAN: I hadn't thought that through. Okay, that's interesting. Let's go next to Jan(ph), Jan calling us from Tucson.

JAN (Caller): Hi. First I wanted to say that I can't even imagine what the wives go through or the families go through, and I really appreciate all that they and their husbands do.

And my question is: In Tucson, we do have a large base, and I'm not a military wife, but I know that there's a lot of restrictions on, you know, going on base or communicating or getting in there.

And I was wondering: As a community member, I know there are programs that help the troops to send food and that kind of stuff, but I don't - what can we do as a community that - or even as individuals, you know, if we wanted to do something, what could we do for the families, or the wives specifically, that are in town or, you know, that need help?

I mean, what can do, and how would we go about it because I wouldn't have the first clue because of all the restrictions.

CONAN: Judith Markelz, I wonder if you have any advice.

Ms. MARKELZ: Yes, I do. Actually, the restrictions aren't that great. Right now, to get on Fort Sam Houston, you do have to have a picture identification card and a destination, if you will.

But on most military installations, there are organizations, for example here Army Community Service, that will help guide you in ways. There are so many ways that you can help military spouses and family members who have loved ones who are deployed or wounded. And those ways start from simple things like saying thank you.

Other ways here, because we have the Warrior Family Support Center, people constantly are bringing in wonderful things like donated baked goods. And food is the universal language, I've discovered, for everyone. And it brings people from all different, diverse backgrounds together. And all of our warriors and their families are here for a common cause, and that is the healing of their loved one.

Food is the avenue to gather people. And once you've got that, they've got support for each other. But here in San Antonio - Military City, USA -community is everything. We would not exist without the support of this city.

CONAN: Jan, I've been to Tucson, and you really can't be there very long without being made quite aware there's a rather large Air Force base outside.

JAN: Absolutely. Well, so if I understand correctly, then if I had an idea, or I wanted to do something for the wives or for the families of our troops, then all I would need to do is go to the base and try to get access? I mean, is there a process of calling? I mean, do you have an idea of - I understand what you're saying is, you know, you just need an ID, but, you know...

CONAN: And a destination, so probably a phone call ahead to say: Who can I talk to? Who's in charge of community relations? Who's in charge of...?

JAN: So it's not as hard as it seems?

CONAN: Probably not.

JAN: Okay. I appreciate it. Thank you very much for everything you do. It's a great show. Thank you.

CONAN: Thank you, Jan.

JAN: Bye-bye.

CONAN: Here's an email from Ravenna(ph): I haven't been a military spouse for very long, just a few months now, but what I've noticed is that other spouses I've met are extremely capable women, and sometimes men. The other officers' wives I met in particular are lawyers, doctors, nurses themselves.

There is a certain luxury in being a military spouse, being able to stay at home with the children, to volunteer, but put in a crunch, and in some ways all of military life is one big crunch, these men and women always come through. It's a job, and it requires you to be strong and individualistic, as well as supportive.

I wonder if, Gina Rinder, you found that your fellow military spouses are very capable men and women?

Ms. RINDER: I definitely think that. You have to be independent, and you have to be able to get anything done because especially once the spouses leave, you know, you're in charge of everything: fixing the car, taking care of the lawn, money. Any kind of crisis, everything is all on you. You have to make all the calls. And if you're not strong, how could you do it?

CONAN: Email from Caitlin(ph) in Fayetteville, North Carolina: The military actually tell soldiers they can expect to be reassigned to a different location every 24 months. Can you imagine trying to plan and live a life moving every two years with one of those years being alone while your spouse is deployed? It's an absurd system. There are plenty of jobs to be filled on each base. When soldiers try and protest yet another move, it's met with a blank stare and total disregard for family life.

And again, let me ask, Gina Rinder, you know you signed up for that going in, yet it's pretty hard.

Ms. RINDER: It is. It gets frustrating. We were pretty fortunate. We - while we were out in Fort Irwin California, we were stationed there for five years, and that was like forever. And it was great.

He came up on orders twice, and when we protested, he had - actually, his leaders protested. They went ahead and canceled it for him. So we didn't have to move as much as other people, but it gets hard, especially when your kids get older. It gets really hard for them to go a new school, make new friends. So it would be nice if they can keep them stationed in one spot longer.

CONAN: Let's see - we get Kevin on the line. Excuse me. David on the line. David with us from Tucson.

DAVID (Caller): Yeah. How is it going?

CONAN: Very well, thanks.

DAVID: Yeah. I was just saying one of the stories I have is my wife and I, we're both active-duty flying crewmembers. And one of the difficulties we face since having a child was the daycare on base is only open from normal business hours, you know, from, I think, it's like seven to 5:30. But as flying members, you could be called into duty at four in the morning and be expected to stay much later than 5 o'clock. So, one of the hardest things to do with a dual-active military income - or a military couple is finding childcare. And it kind of seems that sometimes it's hard to get accommodated for when you're in a regular-duty-hours-style job.

CONAN: And the flying regimen, as you say, is highly irregular hours and often called in at the last minute.

DAVID: Oh, yeah. I mean, schedules can change the night before. When you do get a schedule, it could change, you know, almost the same day sometimes, so it kind of seems that the childcare - I understand the difficulties they would have to finding childcare for us, but, you know, the complication is there.

CONAN: And your wife and you are both air crew?

DAVID: Yes, sir.

CONAN: That's - and you met doing that?

DAVID: Yeah. Actually, we did, sort of, back in training, and we could also be deployed at any time too, so.

CONAN: And what are you flying?

DAVID: A variant of the C-130.

CONAN: C-130. OK. The cargo planes, four-engine - and your wife as well?

DAVID: Yes, sir.

CONAN: All right. Well, good luck to you both.

DAVID: Thank you, sir.

CONAN: Appreciate that. We're talking today about military spouse. Tomorrow is Military Spouse Day. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION coming to you from NPR News.

And let's go next to - this is Kevin. Kevin calling from San Antonio.

KEVIN: Yes. Hi. Thanks for taking my call.

CONAN: Sure.

KEVIN: I've been in the active-duty Air Force for 10 years. My wife is not active duty, but I just want to make the point that the life of a military spouse is just as hard when the member is actually at home.

I mean, most people don't realize - and even San Antonio, I have a number of people look at my wife and say, well, you don't really have it that bad because your husband is here, and usually, those are people that have moved to San Antonio on purpose because their, you know, their mother is sick or their father is sick or they want to be close to family.

My wife's family is in Virginia, and her parents are not in good health. You know, so some of the everyday things, you know, she's living not where she wants to live. She's at, you know, really the beckon call of the Air Force because I can be called and have been called at really on a 24-hour notice, in the middle of the night, we're disrupting, you know, birthday parties or any kind of emergency.

You know, and a lot of people think, oh, well, your husband is here, it's really not that bad, but they don't realize that they're really just along for the ride. So when they - when members do get deployed, it's that much more difficult, but even when they're home, you know, we work very long hours. We can get called in any weekend or in the middle night.

And when important family things do happen, you know, she can generally gets pressure from her family. Why aren't you in Virginia more? Well, you know, packing up our six-year-old, four-year-old and six-months-old, you know, for a thousand dollars of a plane ticket, you know, and trying to get through a, you know, an airport with two car seats and three strollers and backpacks and food, you know. And a lot of people don't appreciate how difficult it is, and I appreciate my wife's sacrifice.

She's - I mean, we've lived in four places in 10 years, and she's repeatedly have to quit jobs and put her career on hold. And it's all because of, you know, all because of me. So I think a lot of times that gets lost. And obviously, when they're deployed, that compounds it tremendously, but even when they're home, it's extraordinarily difficult.

CONAN: Well, Kevin, thanks very much for the call. Appreciate it.

And, Judith Markelz, I know we're talking about Military Spouse Day, but a lot of the - at least some percentage of the wounded that you see there in San Antonio, they're not married. And I wonder what their situation is?

Ms. MARKELZ: The wounded that are not married, through some wonderful programs, we are able to bring their families here to live, you know, whether that be mom, dad or a brother to help provide care, because no one will argue the fact that you heal faster with the support of your family, which is an integral part of the human process here.

CONAN: And so we think of military spouses and, of course, we should. That's the primary burden, but we have to think about military families. Yes, their children but their broader families too, their parents, their brothers and sisters.

Ms. MARKELZ: In many cases, because many of our warriors are younger, the care provider may be their mom, and again, she's got the same problems as spouses do. She leaves job. She leaves a home. And I agree with your former caller, for National Guard and reservists, it is extremely difficult because on a military installation, you have Family Readiness Group, people for support. But for National Guard, particularly, it may be miles from the nearest installation. So family is, like I said, an integral part of the healing process from all aspects.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get one more caller in. Let's go to Renee. Renee with us from Dayton.

RENEE (Caller): Hi. I just wanted to call and say that military spouses are so lucky to have the community of the other military spouses. In our community at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, we're surrounded by amazing spouses and service members who - it just makes it so much easier.

CONAN: And that support network really makes a huge difference then?

RENEE: It's unbelievable. Without it, you couldn't make it.

CONAN: All right. Renee, thanks very much.

I want to end with a couple of emails.

This from Kit(ph). Across the spectrum of the United States military from Marine to sailor to soldier, from enlisted private to three-star general, we spouses do what we do because we love our service members. While changing our lives to accommodate our spouses' careers is challenging and at times extremely painful, we do what we do purely out of love. The most important thing to remember when you meet a military spouse is simply to say thank you. We aren't going anywhere, but it's nice to be recognized every once in a while.

Gina Rinder, is Military Spouses Day an important day?

Ms. RINDER: I would say so, because there is a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hardship, and it's nice to be recognized.

CONAN: Well, thank you very much for being with us today and good luck to both of you and your husband.

Ms. RINDER: Thank you.

CONAN: Gina Rinder's husband, Sean, was injured while serving in Iraq. She's now studying to be a victim's advocate in Colorado Springs, where they're stationed at Fort Carson.

Our thanks as well to Judith Markelz, director of the Warrior and Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Appreciate your time today.

Ms. MARKELZ: Thank you very much, Neal.

CONAN: When we come back, Clarence Page and celebrating Osama. This is NPR News.

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