Jade Coleman, center, and volunteers demonstrate words associated with military spouses at the Military Spouse Appreciation Luncheon on Friday.

Gail Dillon | Herald

Describing it as “the pain and the privilege to serve,” Maj. Khallid Shabazz summed up being a military spouse neatly at the Fort Hood Military Spouse Appreciation Day Luncheon held Friday at Club Hood.

About 350 spouses enjoyed lunch and plenty of inspirational words during the event, as well as some gifts and prizes.

Shabazz, the keynote speaker and chaplain of 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, emphasized the importance of military spouses to their soldiers’ missions.

“I don’t think spouses always know or understand how imperative you are to our overall success,” he said. “Every time we put on this uniform, you put it on with us. When you are resilient, we are resilient. When you are strong, we are strong.”

He said military couples often face difficult days but continue to forge ahead.

“You see, you get up and stand up every waking day, not because you always want to but you know instinctively that you have to,” Shabazz said.

Shabazz compared the military spouse to Mary of the Bible.

“She was chosen for a mission that she didn’t quite understand,” he said. “She, like you, had to be strong. She, like you, had to have courage. She had to be resilient. She had to be resourceful. Because sometimes, there was nobody there to keep her strong.”

Diane Mansfield-Williams, program manager for Army Family Action Plan/Army Family Team Building and the luncheon’s organizer, said the luncheon was her ninth one and she continues to look forward to it every year.

“It’s important because military spouses, they do a lot for their families, for their communities and for ... their country,” she said. “It’s just good to know that all that they do is recognized.”

Entertainment was provided during the luncheon as well. Marie Givens sang Whitney Houston’s “I Didn’t Know my Own Strength” and Jade Coleman skillfully mimed the definitions of 20 words that embody military spouses, such as “Creative” and “Brave.”

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, also thanked the room full of spouses for their sacrifices.

“I want to let you know from me and from all of us in uniform from Fort Hood how deeply we appreciate everything you do,” he said. “You are our soul, you are our heart, you are the spine and backbone of everything there is to be a soldier at Fort Hood. You are why we fight, why we serve.”

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