Saturday, January 5, 2008

Those Who Stay Behind

Back in 1973, a young Vietnam veteran wasn’t doing a whole lot with his life. He had foolishly blown all the money he saved while overseas and he was drifting from job to job. Twice he tried to return to college, but the drive just wasn’t there. He was being irresponsible, drinking too much and he had no real direction in life.

Then he met a young 18-year-old beauty who stole his heart. On January 5, 1974, she became his wife and a new life began for the ex-soldier. With fresh incentives to spur him on, he finished college and the two of them started a family that would grow to four children, three grand-daughters and one grandson on-the-way.

Today, my wife Debbie and I celebrated our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary. We have enjoyed some successes and endured a few failures. As I have said before, the successes were her inspiration; the failures resulted from my bad choices. Still, our love has endured and our lives still hold great adventures in the years ahead. With the grace of God, I will have many more years to share my life with a woman who has truly become the other half of my soul.

During my tour in Iraq, Debbie held down the fort back here in the States, she survived the multiple hurricanes of 2004 and she remained the anchor of my life. (The above photo shows us the day before I left for Iraq.)

Upon my return from the war, I held her close to me and told her that I would be blessed to walk with her through every day of the rest of our lives.

All over America, wives, children, parents, siblings and others wait for their warriors who are risking it all for the sake of America. We are grateful for the service of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, but we can never forget the family members they left behind.

In many ways, they are war veterans, too.

SFC Chuck Grist


  1. Happy Anniversary to a wonderful couple!!! Wishing you continued years of happiness, joy, friendship and love!

  2. Okay,

    since I just saw you on national TV last night, you now owe me a Beer, and oh by the way, I want an autograph! Good to see you :)

    CPT. Art Gordon

  3. great blog post - wonderful tribute to your wife - very nice acknowledgement of those of us who stay home - thanks from an Army mom.

  4. Chuck, What a hearfelt tribute to your wife. You two were married just the month before Mary and I were wed - it is an awsome feeling to have a life companion that you love more today than ever!!

    Our Lord's blessings to you both.