As my husband and I prepare to leave the area, well past our “expiration date,” I decided that my last column would be an excerpt from my farewell reception speech.

Welcome and farewell receptions for the spouse of an organization’s commander are a very old Army tradition. Those who are honored with such an event are often humbled and always thankful to receive such an honor.

It has been so great to write this column for the past six months or so. I am grateful to the Killeen Daily Herald for publishing my thoughts every other week. It’s been tough some days amidst the hectic pace and demands of life, but what a wonderful job I’ve had sharing my thoughts and some of the things I’ve learned about life after 32 years as an Army wife.

I have considered it a privilege to serve our Fort Hood families and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I get to do this because the man I married has been chosen for more senior levels of responsibility, something we both take very seriously. I have considered it a privilege for many years to serve our Army families wherever we have been stationed. We accomplished many things at Fort Hood while we’ve been here and none of those things would have happened without the assistance of many Department of the Army civilian workers, military members and their spouses.

That’s you! And, of course, our folks outside the gates in the surrounding communities have also helped us work toward our goals. Some things have just been set in motion recently and we are hopeful they will succeed after we are gone.

We are cathedral builders in the sense that, what we have set a foundation for today may reach its full potential and beauty long after we’ve headed off down the trail. And that is true of many of us in the Army who are only at our postings for a couple of years.

But we have never let that deter us from starting the building; from laying the foundation for future success. Because if it is something for our families, we just push on.

I will close by saying I am extremely proud of my brilliant, brave, caring, professional, witty and above all, humble, husband. He is the epitome of a great servant leader. Never thinking about himself, he is always working for and thinking about ways to improve things for the soldiers in his charge. Whether that’s mission related, facilities related, family related or single soldier issues, leader development or concern for our surviving Gold Star and Purple Heart soldiers and families, he has time and again proven his genuine heart for soldiers and those they love.

I could not be more proud and I thank God for him every day. The success of Operation Inherent Resolve under his command was impressive. He had so many on the OIR team who helped achieve the gains they made which continue to this day. And we have so many here at Fort Hood who helped to attain his goals within his four top priorities, number three being quality of life for soldiers and their families.

Once again, I thank God for you all. Remember to count your blessings and be grateful every day. May we all treat others with the dignity and respect each of us deserves, because we are made in the image and likeness of God. And if you don’t believe that, I hope you will just treat others as you would want to be treated.

It has been a blessing and a joy to know you, to work with you, to play with you, to be stationed with you as our paths crossed in this crazy Army journey.

God bless us all, God bless our Army and God bless the United States of America. Phantom Warriors! Phantom Spouses! Thanks.

Lynda MacFarland is the spouse of the III Corps and Fort Hood commander. She is a proud Army spouse, mother and advocate for military families.

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