Last Saturday, my wife and I attended a military wedding at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania for one of our numerous grandnephews, Matthew, and it was a military wedding. There were close to 200 guests and about a dozen Navy and Marine officers. The groom's father served in the Coast Guard and many of the other relatives served in one of the Services. The bride's father was a retired Army colonel who teaches at the Army War College. The groom's best man was his brother,(Brian) who also is a Navy officer. Matthew is an aviator and Brian is a surface warfare officer.
The ceremony was in the base chapel and very moving with the priest relating the meaning of marriage and the definition of love. All in all, it was a beautiful ceremony. Naturally, outside of the church, the groomsmen formed the "arch of swords" for the newly married couple to pass under as the bride was welcomed into the Navy family. This was the first military wedding in our family since my wife and I got married in 1961 following graduation from the Naval Academy.
As I looked around the gathering I couldn't help but notice the relatives with long marriages. My older brother has been married for over 60 years, my older sister for almost 60 years, my youngest sister's husband passed away, but they were married for nearly 50 years. One of my younger brothers passed away, but he also was married for over 30 years and my youngest brother has been married for well over 30 years. One brother was divorced, and a few of the nieces and nephews have been divorced, but overall, the marriages have been successful and long lasting. That was a great background for the newlyweds. A sizeable number of the uncles and cousins also served in the military which provided another positive example.
I mention all of this because more often than not, the only stories related by the media are that marriage is failing and although we appreciate our military, it is not recommended for family members. In talking to the military members at the wedding, it was obvious that they are professional and know the challenges of a military life. The groom recently returned from a deployment to the middle east as did his brother. It is so refreshing to speak to these young men and realize that they, much like the generations that preceded them, are doing and will continue to do a great job if they are provided the proper leadership and guidance. The military is responsible for developing the senior leadership, but it is up to the citizens to insure that the civilian leadership is the best possible.
Donald Myers is a retired Marine colonel and regular contributor to Hernando Today. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.