U of M: Education in Honor

I’ve often been asked how I “do it” with a husband who is away from home so much for work; how do I manage everyday life as a working mother to a young son, with virtually no family members living in our vicinity who could lend a hand if need be. I would just as often answer with the analogy of a military family, whose life circumstances I considered very similar: when one parent is required to leave for long periods of time to serve our country, the other parent must figure out how to “do it” and often- just like me- has no family nearby to help. But at some point I realized that this was not a fair analogy to make.
My husband served our country as a Marine and has frequently expressed that, as civilians, even on our most difficult days during his absences they are still not as difficult as what some military families must endure. My husband’s current career offers no viable threats to his life. Though I do of course worry while he is away, I don’t worry about one day receiving a knock at the front door that he won’t be returning home. And I don’t worry about him returning home unable to perform basic life functions because of injuries he has sustained while at work. So, I figure out how to “just do it” because even on my worst day, it doesn’t come close to being the worst.
For the spouses and children of our military men and women who have been grievously wounded or killed during active duty, life has irreparably changed. They must now rise from above the rubble and rebuild without the person who, more times than not, had been their family’s architect and foreman.
I learned today, Memorial Day, that The University of Memphis has become the first institution of higher learning in the nation to help these families in their rebuilding efforts by offering FREE tuition to any student or spouse (not remarried) whose parent and partner has fallen or become severely injured in the line of duty. The university will, beginning next school year, accept the Folds of Honor scholarship given to these students as payment-in-full. They will also be assisted in finding other scholarships to meet their various needs and will not be required to pay the university a cent for their education.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
And even greater a love that he lay down his life for strangers, complete strangers like you and me who reap the benefits every day of the sacrifices these families have made. I am proud to live in a city whose namesake university has recognized these most selfless acts and has said, through their actions: we see you, we salute you, and we honor you. Above all, we thank you.

C.J. Kirkland Is a freelance writer currently based in Memphis, TN.
Call (310) 871-4720 or email cj@cjkirkland.com
Photo credit: @uofmemphis Instagram (2017, September 11)