National Military Spouse Appreciation Day: Holding Down the Fort
by Marsha Richards
Published on May 11, 2023
Categories: Devotions

National Military Spouse Appreciation Day: Holding Down the Fort

by Marsha Richards

 Deuteronomy 31:8: The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” NIV

The atmosphere at the Thanksgiving table was anything but happy. Surrounding me were our daughters, my mother-in-law, along with another Navy wife and her son. Our husbands’ Naval squadron was deployed on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, and the men were due to fly home just before Christmas after having been gone for nine months. However, three weeks prior, on November 4, 1979, 52 American diplomats and citizens were taken hostage at the American Embassy in Tehran. Shortly before we sat down for our holiday feast, a call came from our commanding officer’s wife, informing us that the ship was ordered to turn around and head back to the Indian Ocean.  It would remain there until another carrier could take its place, which would be an additional three months. We were hugely disappointed but soldiered on as best we could, not knowing the tragedies that would soon befall our close-knit community. 

 From November 28 through December 29, in what would become known as “Black December,” there were four airplane crashes with a loss of eleven men—including my husband’s commanding officer and his navigator—leaving widows and children, some who lived on our street. The entire town was left reeling, shaken, sick at heart and quite fearful. As one of the very few Christians in our small band of sisters, I reached out as best I could to bring words of comfort and hope through God’s Word and prayer. One day a telegram arrived with a message from my husband, taken from Proverbs 31:

“An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her…

Her husband is known in the gates,
when he sits among the elders of the land.“ 

Though parted by thousands of miles, my husband was sending me words that spoke of how he valued me and about his confidence in me, which buoyed my hurting heart during those overwhelming days. His words expressed that he trusted me to continue to “hold down the fort” until his return. 

 Apart from words of praise extended by their families, no one paid formal homage to these somewhat invisible home front heroes until 1984, when President Ronald Reagan declared May 11 to be National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  He recognized how vital it was, and still is, that spouses of military men and women feel valued, and honored for the extraordinary sacrifices they make every day.  Not only do they attend to the welfare of their families, but they also contribute to the sense of well-being of their loved ones who are called away to serve.  They are women and men, “holding down the fort,” carrying on through sometimes difficult circumstances, while their spouses are assigned to serve our country, often in foreign lands.

 Many of us are unaware of the sacrifices they make, the strength required, and the effort put into handling the practical aspects of managing a family, a home, and finances. The physical and emotional toll can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with loneliness, anxiety and fear of the “what ifs,” or when the worst happens. Besides offering to help in practical ways, God may use us to reach out in eternal ways with prayers for safety, strength, wisdom, and peace, along with words of comfort, hope, and encouragement for them to stay the course.  

 We who depend on our military to defend and protect this great nation, recognize today the steadfast military spouses for their bravery, loyalty, and service in holding down forts all across this country. May God bless and keep them, may they feel valued and honored, and may their sacrifices never go unnoticed.  


As a devoted Christ-follower, Marsha has walked this twisting, winding, bumpy road called life, giving her many opportunities to serve Him. Besides owning and managing a Tea business for twenty-two years, her focus has been to minister to women as a leader, teacher, mentor and public speaker.

 At this point in her life, she has a great sense of urgency to share the love of Christ with men and women from all walks of life through the written word.  She has been married for 56 years and is the mother of two married daughters and grandmother of four. 

 You can contact her through her Devotions For All Reasons Facebook page, the website of the same name, as well as: Tea For All ReasonsFood For All Reasons (both shared with her daughter, Jen) and England For All Reasons, shared with her husband, Jake.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Christian Grandfather Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading