Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a joint services luncheon at the Waterford in Springfield, VA. This event has been going on for 40 years. That is quite a long time to create a program where the five services take turns hosting an event and bringing in a speaker. Ellyn Dunford, the Honorary Chair for the Marines, said that the mission is “to build bridges between the services.” I think they do a great job of that.
This was my first time attending even though we have been in the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) area for almost two years. There have been some amazing speakers in that time. First Ladies have spoken, journalists, ambassadors, and even actors have taken the time to speak to military spouses.
I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie I felt with the spouses I sat with. We shared our stories about PCSing and the daily lives of being a spouse. The committee does a great job of seating people together from different services. My table was missing a Marine Corps spouse but we made do 😉
Speaking of the Marines, their quartet serenaded us with a rousing rendition of each service’s song. My Air Force spouses were quite rowdy with our singing. When we finally were able to sit down, there were a few goodies at our place setting.
Now, I shouldn’t complain, but in years past, the take-aways were pretty awesome. The objects in front of me didn’t make me squeal with delight. As a matter of fact, I was disappointed. But one of the women assured me that last time, they gave away Stella and Dot bags. That left me hopeful. Because, while I was happy with my Bosom Buddy Bags business card holder, I was hoping for something more.
So lunch was good as catered food goes but that’s not really why you’re reading this, is it? You want to know about what Ivanka said.
When she entered the room, she was accompanied by her daughter. I thought that was super sweet. It’s always good to see a parent and child together.
She told us that since her father took office, her daughter wakes up and recites the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. We’ve all seen the images of military kids showing patriotism. They stop what they are doing and stand at attention when the National Anthem is played. That’s what it reminded me of.
She spoke of the mission of herself and her father’s administration to help spouses out with employment. This is a HUGE issue for military spouses. The underemployment rate for spouses is high. Not only that, but because of their relocation frequency, they are underpaid for the work they do. I’m glad they are continuing the fight for this. With spouses moving every few years, it makes it hard to maintain a job as well as advance in salary.
“There is no reason that military spouses should be punished for moving.”
She also reminded us that “our nation will always honor and support you”. I know that may be true now but it wasn’t always so. But America always strives to get better and they tend to succeed. She continued her speech by hoping that “your children and grandchildren will build upon the legacy you have created.” As a mother who has a daughter serving in the military, I feel that that wish is coming true.
Whether you agree with her or her father’s politics, it was an experience to witness. She is an elegant speaker and she is pushing for military spouses as part of her agenda. You can’t fault her for that.
And as she left the building, I have to say, I was sad.
There were no other goodies given away.