As the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Being away from loved ones is hard, but imagine being thousands of miles away for months at a time. This is all too familiar for military families.
But thanks to advances in mobile technology, the distance between the frontlines and the home front is shrinking. Gone are the days of waiting months to receive a letter in the mail. In fact, according to a survey by Blue Star Families, 89% of military families use email during deployments, and Skype has given soldiers the ability to be present for the birth of their child.
Here’s a look into the lives of military families across the Midwest, including how they use mobile tech to stay in touch.
Meet Whitney Freeman. After planning to get married in May 2013, her fiancé was unexpectedly deployed for a tour in Afghanistan. As Whitney says, “Phone calls and Skype quickly became our best friends. You obviously don’t forget what your love looks like, but to be able to hear their voice and see the smile on their face, it’s like nothing else matters in the world.”
Not knowing when they would be able to speak next, they had to make every conversation count and try to fit everything in when they could. And to top it off, they had a wedding to plan. Planning a wedding is no easy feat, especially when trying to coordinate details from different continents.
Whitney and her husband on their wedding day.
Reminiscing about her wedding, Whitney recalls, “Skype made it easy for us to discuss colors, flower arrangements, etc. I was literally able to show him pictures of everything from décor to groomsmen tuxes and we could agree on what we wanted even given the distance. It definitely wasn’t an ideal situation, but we were able to make it work with today’s technology.”
Meet Lisa Waiters. Lisa and her husband Shawn met after serving in the 82nd Airborne Division during Desert Storm. Today, their son, Shawn Jr., has carried on the tradition and recently finished his basic and advanced individual training. Ever since he was little, Shawn knew he wanted to follow in his parent’s footsteps.
When her husband and son are away on military duty, Lisa says, “We use our Verizon smartphones to make calls, text, FaceTime and send pictures when we are away from each other.”
Having used laptops and flip phones to communicate in the past, they quickly realized the advantages of upgrading to smartphones. Not only are they able to talk to each other over the phone, but they were also able to see each other using FaceTime.
Shawn, Shawn Jr. and Lisa Waiters.
“This made the time Shawn was away at basic training much more bearable, because I could see my son and know if he was alright. We were also able to send and share pictures with each other, so he would be up to date on all the family events that he was not able to attend while away,” said Lisa.
While mobile technology can never replace the convenience of sharing a conversation in-person or make up for time spent away from loved ones, it’s allowing military families to stay in touch in ways they never could have before.
Do you have family members who serve our country overseas? How do you use mobile tech to stay in touch?
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