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Are the Military Entitled?

I recently traveled across the country, just my daughter and I, as my husband is currently deployed. On one leg of our trip, I flew with an airline that charges civilians for bags. Having flown with them before, I walked up to the ticket counter, showed my military ID, and promptly heard, “Checking one bag? That will be $25.” I questioned the agent, saying I had flown just a few months ago and was not charged for my bag because I was military. She told me that no, I was not military, that my spouse was military and therefore his bags would be free but mine were not unless I had his orders.

Seriously, lady? Because I don’t make sacrifices while he’s gone? Because I don’t “serve” myself? Let’s see you do what I do every day and then we can talk more about how I’m “not military.” I was mad. In my eyes, our family is active duty, not just my husband. I ultimately walked away $25 poorer but with a thought brewing in my mind. As a whole, do service members and their families feel entitled to special privileges or discounts simply because we serve?

My family and I live on a large base and many of the businesses here cater to military, so I’ve become accustomed to receiving military discounts almost everywhere. I recognize that it is my husband who puts his life on the line, not me. It is he who signed his name on that dotted line. But didn’t I also volunteer for this job? Didn’t I also sign my name, knowing full well that many days of our marriage would be spent apart or that I might live my life as a widow one day?

To me, having a spouse in the military is not his job, it’s our life. So shouldn’t we all be recognized by these businesses? Don’t get me wrong-if the airline didn’t offer free bags to military at all I wouldn’t have blinked an eye. But as I sat waiting to board the plane because this airline also doesn’t allow people with small children to board first (that is a story for another time),another thought crossed my mind: Why should I even expect anything from them? Shouldn’t I be grateful that at least they are recognizing our Armed Forces in one way or another? Personally, I look favorably upon businesses that give military discounts to service members and their families. It’s not only because I save money but also because it is nice to know that people in the civilian world still recognize the sacrifice our families make during what has seemingly become an invisible war. I will frequent those shops more often, even if their products cost more than the competitors. I get a feeling of camaraderie and pride when giving these companies my business because I’m recognized for the sacrifice my family makes every day, and that is a good feeling.

As the wife of a Marine and the sister of a soldier, I am blatantly aware of the sacrifices the members of our Armed Services make. But after being in the thick of this war for 10 years, I feel as though we (i.e., military families) are no longer humbled by the fact that businesses are willing to give us discounts or special privileges. We expect it, because for the past 10 years the country has been supporting us through the war. We expect it because it is what we have come to know.

So what happens when the war is over? When everyone returns home and we are no longer faced with deployments or stories of men making the ultimate sacrifice for their country? Will the country forget about us? Maybe, maybe not. Either way I don’t think it matters. Who cares if we no longer get 10% off our car wash or a free soda with our burrito? All that matters is that we do this job honorably and faithfully.

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20 thoughts on “Are the Military Entitled?”

  1. Well said! I am horrible about asking for discounts. I’m so humbled about the whole thing. I feel like checking bags for free is a huge privileges. And my understanding is that this benefit started for service members because they travel a lot and carry a lot of extra baggage when flying with orders. Now it’s been granted if a service member is traveling period. I always feel like I’m cheating the system when my bags are free. So I never think to ask when I’m traveling without my husband. Maybe I should. Lol.

    Great article. 🙂

    1. yes we are entitled to these rights. I have reposted your blog to my pintrest site and commented. please read it as I am sure to say that even though this was a minor part of my thought (due to allotted space to comment), you will agree.

      1. I don’t think it is anyone’s “right ” to receive a discount. That is just ridiculous. Giving a discount is a very nice thing that some companies do but it certainly not a right.

  2. A friend and I were just talking about this the other day. My opinion is very very unpopular and I’m sure someone will blast me for it, but here it is…… I and my children aren’t “entitled” to anything. You marry your spouse for who they are, not their job or the particular perks it brings. You’d be sacrificing if he had another job, it would just be different.

    I think 100% with a doubt that service member current and retired should get discounts.

  3. “People in the civilian world?” You ARE a civilian. YOU are entitled to none of the perks you mentioned. YOU chose to marry a man in the military. Suck it up, stop wearing his rank, and be thankful that you have a husband that is willing to risk his life for his country. YOU have done nothing except support your husband, as any good wife would do, civilian or military.

    1. Not sure how you got that the author is “wearing her husband’s rank” from this article. I don’t see that anywhere in the article. In fact I think the author did a great job of “sucking it up” and being extremely thankful for her husband, and the businesses that support military.

      I know Lauren personally and her dedication, support and love for all military families is inspiring. After reading through all the comments I am beginning to wonder if half those who commented read the whole article? If so you would understand that Lauren, just like many of you who commented, feels that we shouldn’t feel entitled, but rather grateful for the support our service members receive. We should be supportive of Lauren’s realization and encouraging. Disagreeing is one thing, in fact I think it’s important to have discussion on certain issues with different points of view. But the attacking is not necessary.

  4. Great post!
    We are a military family and I do enjoy the discounts. I in no way feel we deserve them but I really appreciate it when places offer them. I have noticed a few places (Denny’s for example) has changed it so that you can only get the discount with an Active Duty ID card. When I showed my dependent card they would not give me the discount. Kinda a bummer.

  5. Maybe you spouses should check your military Id over, It says on the back civilian.

    Thats because that is what you are. You are not entitled to anything and you should be expecting any special favors.

    1. I am wondering if all the commentors on this article, actually read the entire article? Lauren explained, very eloquently I might add, that she doesn’t believe we are entitled to the discounts either, but rather that she was very thankful for the discounts and perks that we receive. And, no where in there did she think that military families or spouses should expect special favors, she was simply saying how nice it is to me appreciated for the sacrifices that our spouses AND our families make. While a military spouse of any branch may not be an active duty military personnel ourselves, we are in fact an active duty family. And while we may not serve in a war we do serve in a different way and so do our children, but again no one is saying that that makes us entitled but rather honored and thankful when there are discounts.

  6. “Entitled”? I think not. As a wife to a Marine, daughter to a retired Marine and a retired Sailor, sister to a Marine, Sailor, Army soldier, and an Airman I do not think we are entitled to anything except the pride and honor of knowing we support somebody who serves this country. If I “serve” anyone, its my husband, but I don’t serve this country. I sacrifice for my husband’s service. I like the last part of your story about being humble about discounts offered to military members. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and I love to save a buck. I also, agree with you about supporting businesses who support the military. However, I would never be upset if that discount wasn’t extended to myself as I am only a wife to somebody who has earned that discount through his service to our country.

  7. As a service member, I hate when civilian spouses feel entitled to things. In fact, I hate it when service members feel entitled. We chose to serve this country, and not for the discounts. It’s nice if offered a discount on something like luggage or a meal at a restaurant, but I won’t get upset if they tell me there’s no military discount. To the spouse thing, yes it’s hard waiting, as someone in a dual military marriage, I’ve done my share of waiting. It really upsets me when spouses feel they deserve the same treatment as someone who gets deployed and goes through those long days of training. Even here in the states, my work days are at least 13 hours long. If I can handle not getting military discounts (as someone actually in the military), then you can get off your high horse of entitlement and deal with it without whining about $25. Other civilians pay it, some military do as well. What makes you think you’re so special?

  8. The benefits and rewards awarded are at the discretion of the giver. I am also the spouse of an active duty Marine and on occasion because he is with me, or the general t&c’s state so, enjoy those benefits. At no point am I directly ‘entitled’ because im ‘Me’. Simply put, if I was entitled it would state that.
    I travel extensively and always familiarise myself with an airlines specific baggage allowance, it saves any misunderstandings and or embarrassments.
    Recently my husband made a personal trip from Europe to the USA with AA, he was given 3 bags of 23kgs or 50lbs free of charge. Any additional bag would be $150. If he had been with orders he would have been ‘entitled’ to 5 bags.
    I was unable to travel with him and as per the t&c’s of the airline, I got, due to it being an international sector 1 bag of 23kgs or 50lbs and a charge for any further bags. That was all stated in the breakdown of the ticket.
    Im not here to argue personal interpretations of service and entitlement issues. Im stating that, if you read the small print, which you should prior to accepting any contract, its clear that if you are travelling without the Active Duty member, and again, perhaps a clarification of Active Duty and Dependant is required, you are actually ‘entitled’ by their definition to nothing, other than the regular ticket allowance and costings.
    It costs me a fortune and I would love to travel with more bags f.o.c. but, thats the way it goes, and I accept that.
    I can only suggest that if you feel so aggrieved by a companies policy, you should lobby that company directly, stating exactly why, you feel you should enjoy the same benefits as the person contractually employed by the Military, defining your interpretation of service, etc. Perhaps they will consider it a fair point and adjust their policy. Which would benefit all of us dependants.

    In honesty, I have never felt entitled to a thing, my husband is the one who is employed by the Military, Im his wife, and I do the regular stuff a wife does. Run my agreed part of domesticity and do my job. Here and there I enjoy, if hes with me a % off my plants at Lowes or whatever.

    Incidently, I am aircrew by profession and part of MY perks are ‘staff travel’. Owing to the area of the industry I work in, my husband, or family do not qualify for the rebates, in fact often an ID75 is more expensive and restrictive than a ticket from Kayak etc and I dont utilise them. In honesty , I would never even think to put forward for a ticket for him, they would think id ‘lost my mind’ and been lax reading my contract. When I signed on the line for my job, I accepted, no beanies for my husband or spouse, along the same lines Id got from a previous company. It sucks but hey…Im financially compensated for my efforts and thats what goes in the kitty to pay for his tickets.

    Appreciate what is offered and given, and some you win and some you lose, but really being angry and upset over something which is crystal clear is if nothing pointless. Im sure my opinion, which could be factually backed up by several policies from airlines, will prove to be as successful and unpopular as a lead balloon here. But it is what it is.

  9. I am the author of this article and I have gotten some comments back via email that have yet to be posted to the site and I wanted to clarify a few things because I think I struck a cord with some people:

    The beginning of the article, I talked about being frustrated with an airline because of their changed baggage policy. But as I continued to stew on my frustrations, I came to realize that it was selfish of me to expect any discounts, etc from any business simply because I come from a military household. I did state this in my article as well, stating rhetorical questions of why I should expect anything from these businesses and that I should be grateful they are offering anything.

    I still maintain the fact that I believe military is not a job, it is a lifestyle. I still feel as though my family is military, not just my husband. That is not to say that as a spouse I should receive the same recognition for what my husband does but I do believe that the military family is important. We give up many things to support our spouses and I still believe that we should be appreciated as well.

    No one signed up for the job or signed the marriage certificate for the 10% off at stores. The perks are great, but the point of my article was to show that sometimes we forget that businesses don’t “owe” us anything for what we, yes we, as a military family signed up for and that we should continue to be humbled by the businesses’ gratitude, whether it is for the AD member or the whole family.

    I hope this helps to clear up my point of view on the subject. Thank you for reading!

  10. No, as a spouse, we do not serve. We are married to our husbands, not to the military. We aren’t single parents when they are gone, they still give financial support. We are dependents, not Active duty, not reserves. Why should we get the same benefits that service members do? We don’t have bullets flying past our head, or stuck in the middle of the ocean for months at a time without seeing land. Yes, we miss our husband, but that doesn’t mean we need discounts or special treatment. I’ve been with my husband for 8 years, thru too many deployments to count. I am not entitled to anything that HE EARNS!!!

  11. I stand precariously on both sides of this argument. I have been a soldier and I have been a military spouse. I understand many of these comments about the feeling of entitlement and the ire it rises in many people. In fairness to Lauren, at the end of this article she does explain that she feels no sense of entitlement for her husband’s service, but simply appreciates the recognition her husband gets on the home front and how that translates to her as well.

    I personally have a problem with some of these comments accusing military spouses of being nothing more than dependants or no different than civilian spouses. It is different. The fact that the experiences of military spouses is so different from our civilian counterparts is the whole purpose and focus of this website and what we do here at the HOMEFRONT UNITED NETWORK, and I’m slightly dismayed by the lack of unity among us. I’m not asking everyone to agree with the sentiments of this article. But I do hope we can continue to support each other in what is a very difficult choice- I used to tell my husband, there are three of us in this marriage- you, me and the Army. The job we do as military spouses is vitally important to our military members… let’s not discount that!

  12. I don’t think I’m entitled to any discount because I’m a spouse. (Barring, if the ticket is through a contract with the military, like traveling on change of home port orders. Bags should be free then, with or without the AD member, because that is the stipulation of the military contract with the airline.)

    I do very much appreciate it when I am given a discount. And my AD husband appreciates it, since his income provides the bulk of our income at most times. A military discount to me is saving *his* hard earned cash. (And no, this is not to open up the working vs. stay at home debate.) Plain and simple, we are a team running on the same budget, and what benefits one, benefits the other.

    To the author – I wholeheartedly agree. I do not feel entitled to anything from a company, but I appreciate what is offered because we are a military FAMILY.

    To those who say we are truly the same as any other civilian spouse, with no need for anything special, I’d ask – do you shop at the commissary? Use the MWR? Your Family Services Center? Military One Source? How about your higher BAH rate because your service member is married? All of those, and many more services, are special privileges granted to your family based on your dependent status of the military member, many of them supported by civilian tax payers. They are afforded to you because you are part of a military FAMILY. If it was truly just about the service member, you wouldn’t have access to any of that. If you use any of those services, you are benefiting from your spouse’s job, in a way very few, if any, other spouses outside of the military do. While spouses may not be in the military, I’d say it’s a far cry to say they are just the same as any other civilian. It’s more of a grey area in between, and that is often why they encounter so many difficulties. I think spouses should be proud of their service members, themselves, and their children – we all sacrifice, albeit at vastly different levels, but it is still a sacrifice that ‘civilian spouses’ do not pay at all.

  13. While we as spouses face struggles and challenges I do not feel we’re entitled to anything other than support from loved ones, friends and family.

    While its a nice gesture that a lot of companies offer discounts to military personal and their families I don’t see that we’re entitled to it and ultimately it’s up to the store owner, company or organization, wether or not to include dependents in the military discount.

  14. I also feel that loving our spouses who serve I not a job- it’s love.

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (NIV)

    It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud… It is not self seeking.

    If it is love then there should be no other benefits needed other than being loved back. If it is a job then most look for benefits and its not love, in my opinion.

    Some businesses also offer discounts to our firemen, police officers and other public servicemen and women and their families, which is wonderful In my honest opinion but its not something they as families are entitled to.

    If there is worry about why will happen to military families after the war is over, show more support for military family programs! Show support for the businesses that do show their support, don’t get bent out if shape over those that do, and reach out and be supportive to other military families!

  15. I think the families also make sacrifices and suffer while their love one is deployed. The military discounts are a nice way to say “thank you”, a way to honor the service member by doing something nice for their families, and ultimately the discounts given to the families also benefit the service member’s pocket. I don’t feel entitled to discounts but it feels good to know that your family sacrifices don’t go unnoticed.

  16. First of I did serve and I am sick & tired of this false sense of self entitlement! So what if your spouse? So *&^%ing what? The military is no more special than a teacher, EMT, or trash collector. Get over your arrogant selves and in a hurry!

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