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After years, the Wade family reunites

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After years, the Wade family reunites

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Wade's dad surprise visited her brother at school when he came back from Afghanistan. It was the first time they had seen each other in nine months.

Wade’s dad surprise visited her brother at school when he came back from Afghanistan. It was the first time they had seen each other in nine months.

Standing in the crowded airport, families anxiously waited for their loved ones. Gloomy, dark clouds filled the grey sky; however, they did not reflect the brightness in the eyes of a child looking for her father. Suddenly, a figure dressed in green camouflage appeared out of the shadows.  Senior Miriam Wade’s wait was finally over.

“We have only moved twice as a family since my dad joined the Air Force,” Wade said. “After we moved to Virginia in 2009, my dad was first stationed at Arlington National Cemetery and now he is at Andrews Air Base in Maryland.”

Wade’s father is currently serving as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. Wade’s father had spent 20 years in the Army and retired as a Major prior to joining the Air Force. Sacrifices have been made due to her father’s position in the U.S. Air Force; however, moving has given her an opportunity to interact with many diverse types of people and cultures.

“While it puts a strain on the family when we have to pack up and go to a new place,” Wade said. “I know that moving brings us closer together.”

When Wade’s brother was just 2 years old, he was diagnosed with kidney failure and cancer. Due to this hardship, the moving around of Wade’s family became more limited to areas close to medical care. Her mother was able to assume the roles of both parents and sacrificed her time to take care of Wade and her siblings.

“While it puts a lot of strain on the family when we have to pack up and go to a new place,” Wade said, “it’s about knowing that I have someone to love and support me if the move is particularly difficult.”

Although there are multiple emotional and physical strains of being a part of a military family, there are many benefits as well. As a military kid, Wade has become disciplined, responsible, independent, mature and strong. Her family gains the benefit of bonuses such as health care, college aid, insurance and travel discounts. The disadvantages include difficulties such as leaving friends behind and starting over because it was unnatural and difficult and having to answer questions such as “Where are you from” because Wade never really knew how to answer it.

“No matter how difficult or horrible it seems to be in a military family, I wouldn’t change anything about my experiences,” Wade said. “It’s made me stronger and the happy memories always supersede the bad.”

Wade enjoyed living in Arkansas out of all the places she has lived. The hospitality and the opportunities Wade gained were perfect. Wade was immediately placed into a gifted and talented program in Arkansas, which allowed her to excel in school. The talented program provided Wade a chance to achieve the best schooling available and make new friends.

“Life seemed slower in Arkansas because people weren’t in a rush to go anywhere, and they weren’t rude about it,” Wade said. “I was enveloped in good old Southern hospitality, and I loved it.”

When Wade moved to Burke, she decided to explore her neighborhood while walking her dogs. As she and her family rounded a corner, they saw a license plate they knew they had seen before. She knocked on the door to their house, and a familiar face appeared. Apparently the Shock family, the Schatz family and the Valenzuela family all moved from Arkansas to Virginia. Four years later, they were all neighbors once again.

“It’s incredible how small the military world actually is,” Wade said. “It gives me a feeling that no matter how many times we move or our friends move away, we’re all connected and close.”

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