BETHEL — Tonya Lewis of East Bethel likens Veterans Day to Thanksgiving.

“I spend my day being thankful for all of my friends and family that have served our country” she said. More specifically, she is thankful that her husband, U.S. Marine John Lewis, came home from Afghanistan safe and sound five days before the birth of their first daughter.

Lewis, now a police officer in Norway, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. When he returned in 2012, he transferred to the reserves and is now in the Individual Ready Reserve. He doesn’t need to attend monthly drills but if needed he would go back to active duty.

As thankful as she is for her husband’s sacrifice and safe return, Lewis said she has a “love-hate relationship” with the U.S. Marine Corps, primarily because of the dangers involved.

“The hardest part of being a Marine Corps wife is the constant fears — wondering when or if he’ll be deployed, (and) when he’s deployed, wondering if he’s safe and if he’ll come home at the end of deployment,” Lewis said.

 However, on the Marine Corps’ 241st birthday Nov. 10, Lewis said she had “nothing but fond memories and great pride.”


“The deployment showed me that I can handle anything,” Lewis said. “The time apart gave me a true appreciation for our time together. The Corps and I may have had our differences, but I’m forever thankful for the lessons learned.”

This Veterans Day, Lewis said she hopes people celebrate by doing something kind for a veteran, even just by telling them they’re thankful for their service.

“My wish for veterans this year is that they’ll feel appreciated and loved every single day for all the sacrifices they made for our country,” Lewis said.

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