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When Friends are Family

Photo by Leah Kelley.

Celebrating Friendship

In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly designated July 30 as the International Day of Friendship. And how beautiful is that?!

During this time of debate and division, we all get to take one day to acknowledge how much it means to have people we like by our sides.  

There are many hardships associated with military life. We don’t have to name them here. But one thing that we sometimes forget to acknowledge is how military life forces fast friendships.  

One day she’s a just a stranger you smile at hesitantly over the seven-layer dip—two years later you’re bawling when you realize that duty station you shared is now just another entry on that sign by her front door. 


Today I’m thinking about all my milspouse friends, especially the friend who  

—Is a sister now and forever, a bond forged through tears, late nights, and Thai food.

—I call my “wondertwin”. How in the world are we supposed to get through all this stuff when we’re 1,000 miles apart? 

—Sat at my hospital bedside, cradling and cooing over my newborn, months before my husband got to come home to meet his daughter.  

—I message with nearly every week on Facebook but have never actually met in person. 

—Always brings extra tissues and passes them to me before I even ask because she knows I can’t make it through a memorial service with my mascara intact.  

—Pep talks me when I’m down about my career, is the first to suggest a girls’ night out, and has a recipe for absolutely everything.  

—Shows up early to my party to help set up and stays late to help with the dishes.  

—Comes from a place far different than my hometown, has different religious beliefs, and an accent so different than mine that it doesn’t even sound we’re speaking the same language. She taught me that we have everything in common. 


The military didn’t care if we had friends, so it didn’t issue us any. We had to make them on our own—and they’re the absolute best thing about this crazy life.   


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Image of the Author - Rebekah Sanderlin

About The Author

Rebekah Sanderlin

Rebekah Sanderlin is the wife of an Army Veteran, the author of the blog Operation Marriage, and co-founder and author of the “Home Is Where” book series.

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