Life as a military spouse brings unique challenges and experiences that give us a renewed perspective, appreciation for the small things, newfound strength, and the courage to embrace change. We know these things to be true, no matter which military branch we are affiliated with, because of a few common threads that unite us.
While living in a never-ending loop of “see-you-laters” that are an inevitable consequence of frequent relocations that often take you further away from loved ones, and the time spent apart from your hero during deployments and training, you lean on the milspouse friendships you make every step of the way. So, when the sad day comes to give big hugs until you reunite again, military jewelry can serve as a personal and meaningful everyday reminder of your military family - whether they’re the ones who share your name or the ones you choose with your heart. Everyone in this tight-knit community, from spouses, significant others, family members, and friends, uplifts those who bravely and selflessly volunteer to serve and protect our country.
HOW THE HISTORY BEHIND EACH BRANCH OF THE U.S. ARMED FORCES INSPIRED MILITARY JEWELRY PIECES
Each service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces is genuinely extraordinary - from the history to the meaning behind the insignia, colors represented, and some fun facts you might not know. And after reading, you’ll be able to scout out how these tidbits inspired our military tribute bracelets and other jewelry that service member spouses and loved ones wear with pride and honor each day.
According to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, “The central element, the Roman cuirass, is a symbol of strength and defense. The sword, spontoon (a type of half-pike formerly used by subordinate officers), musket, bayonet, cannon, cannon balls, mortar, and mortar bombs are representative of Army implements. The drum and drumsticks are symbols of public notification of the Army's purpose and intent to serve the nation and its people. The Phrygian cap (often called the Cap of Liberty) supported on the point of an unsheathed sword and the motto, ‘This We'll Defend,’ on a scroll held by the rattlesnake is a symbol depicted on some American colonial flags and signifies the Army's constant readiness to defend and preserve the United States.”
Have a pair of sunglasses you can’t imagine leaving your home without, particularly Ray-Bans? You can thank U.S. Army Air Corps Lt. General John MacCready for that. He requested Bausch & Lomb to create glasses for his pilots to help block the sun and lessen their nausea and headaches. As a result, the Ray-Ban brand was born.
The flag of the U.S. Navy features an eagle with its wings spread, suggesting it’s defending a ship at sea. You can also see that nautical imagery is included such as a circular rope around the central insignia.
Thanks to the U.S. Congress, the Secretary of the Navy has been in charge of naming ships since 1819. For the most part, names are formed by the Naval Historical Center as a result of suggestions made by the public, sailors, retirees, and naval history. The Chief of Naval Operations formally signs and takes those recommendations for the current year’s building program to the Secretary. He or she then considers that list, along with his or her own thoughts, and announces the new names at appropriate times. For those ships named after individuals, a christening takes place by the oldest living female descendant of that individual and for ships with other name sources, it’s traditional to honor the wives of senior naval officers or public officials.
As seen on the branch’s emblem, the 13 stars represent the 13 Original Colonies of the United States. The grouping of three stars at the top of the design, however, portrays the three Departments of the National Defense Establishment - Army, Navy, and Air Force. Meanwhile, the crest includes the American Bald Eagle, symbolizing the United States and air striking power, with its head turned to the right - suggesting facing the enemy and looking towards the future. The shield, divided with the wavy (nebuly) line formation to depict clouds, is filled with the heraldic thunderbolt to portray striking power in the air. Lastly, the Roman numerals beneath it indicate the year 1947, when the Department of the Air Force was established.
The Air Force tracks Santa Clause. Yes, it’s true! Every December since 1948, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) follows the big man in red’s movements as he delivers presents to boys and girls around the world.
The Marine Corps emblem consists of an eagle with spread wings atop a globe on the Western Hemisphere, with a “fouled anchor” (meaning it’s become hooked onto something in the ground or has its cable wound around it) in the background. The eagle is the symbol of the nation, the globe of worldwide service, and the anchor of the branch’s close ties with the Navy.
The Marines’ very first battle took place in none other than the Bahamas. On March 3, 1776, a force under Captain Samuel Nicholas’ command invaded the beaches of the British-held island of New Providence, searching for military supplies. The mission was successful and they ended up seizing a few brass cannons and mortars, which were later used by George Washington’s Continental Army.
MILITARY BRANCH BRACELETS
Some of my favorite military jewelry pieces that I designed in collaboration with the lovely gals (and fellow military spouses) at R.Riveter can be found within the Military Branch Bracelets collection.
There’s a military tribute bracelet for each branch of our Armed Forces – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. You should be able to spot some symbolic colors and gemstones after reading about each branch!
I will say, it wasn’t easy to capture the spirit of each military branch on a string of gemstones because decades of history, sacrifice, and deep pride are not things you can see, but are only things carried in your heart. The inspiration came from the colors of each military seal and branch uniform, and the gemstones are symbolic of those colors. It’s my hope that they’re a constant, treasured reminder of your military hero and an anchor to what’s most important in your life.
While your loved one serves our great country as a service member of one of the branches that make up the U.S. Armed Forces, it’s important to reflect on the fact that you, too, play an essential role.
FAMILIES SERVE TOO: THE IMPORTANT ROLE YOU PLAY AS YOUR HERO SERVES IN AN ACTIVE DUTY BRANCH
No matter your experiences - whether as a service member spouse, significant other, family member, or friend - each role is an essential part of the mission as your hero serves in an active duty branch.
Spouses and significant others take on the difficult task of holding down the fort while the time spent apart eventually surpasses the time spent together in a given year. Not to mention, they find the strength to weave together a tribe - from one duty station to another. Parents take on the never-ending feelings of concern about their “baby,” no matter if they’re at “home,” thousands of miles away, or serving overseas. Children take on the constant moves, being uprooted from one school to the next, and holidays and birthdays celebrated without their other parent.
Each family member has their own unique perspective while experiencing a PCS, TDY, deployment; you name it. Often, these trials and tribulations bring a range of feelings from loneliness to a low sense of belonging (as illustrated in Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey). It’s more important than ever for military families to feel connected and supported - not just to their loved ones but also to their military and civilian communities. Having something special to wear as an everyday reminder, like military jewelry, can help do exactly that!
Currently, there are more than 1.3 million active duty military members serving our country, making up less than 0.4 percent of the American population.
Let that statistic sink in for a minute.
Therefore, year after year, the civilian-military divide continues to be an issue. It’s no wonder why military family members often experience hardships. It’s easy to feel as if you’re not seen, heard, understood, and cherished.
That’s where military jewelry comes in. While it may seem as if a military tribute bracelet or pair of earrings is simply a piece that looks pretty or compliments your style, it’s so much more than that. Consider it part of your everyday armor you slip around your wrist, connecting you to your purpose, your community, your hero - reminding you that you’re not alone on this journey - while also inspiring you to find your inner strength to carry out your duty of uplifting your service member and those around you.
Knowing that something small, yet meaningful, can keep you connected to what matters most will help you navigate the tough times. So, are you ready to pick the perfect piece? Who knows; maybe you’ll spot a spouse at the commissary wearing a similar style or encourage each your family members to purchase the same military tribute bracelet - uniting you near or far.
WHERE CAN YOU PURCHASE MILITARY JEWELRY?
Want to know one of the most amazing things about the military family community? There are a good number of spouses and service members - both active duty and veteran - who’ve taken the leap into the world of entrepreneurship to bring their talents, in the form of products and services, to the world. Their endeavors allow them the opportunity to not only change the unemployment rate among the military spouse community and ease the transition from active duty, but also defy the odds of having a career despite uncertainty and sacrifice.
I’d like to introduce you to just a handful of the spouse and veteran-owned military jewelry businesses, and their owners, as a way to show my appreciation for all they have done and continue to do for the military community.
WHY CHOOSE CHARLIEMADISON ORIGINALS?
Military families are near and dear to my heart. After all, American heroes make up three generations of my family. My husband proudly served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, sending us, along with our two daughters, around the world - all the way to Okinawa, Japan - and back. Although he’s retired now, we'll always be a military family at heart, which I credit to influencing our company’s mission, and gifting me with compassion and purpose.
From my husband, to my father, my father-in-law, my grandfather, sister-in-law, uncles and cousins.......just a few of the heroes in my family.
I understand you because I am one of you. I know that no matter where the military sends you and/or your American hero, you long to feel connected to your service member family. Most importantly, you deserve to be reminded daily of the resiliency, bravery, strength, and devotion of both yourself and your loved one.
For that reason, I’ve designed our military tribute bracelets and military branch bracelet collections with you in mind - for both my shop and in collaboration with R.Riveter. These can serve as the perfect meaningful gift for yourself or that special person in your life, from your military spouse BFF to your mother-in-law!
The idea behind these bracelets, in particular, came from my desire to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today - from the fallen to veterans, active duty, and their families. May we never take their service for granted.
Here are a few of the military tribute bracelets that make up this special collection:
If you spotted a bracelet that you’d love to slip on your wrist as your everyday reminder or gift to a special friend, you will feel happy knowing that your purchase gives back. When you shop from Charliemadison Originals, your support expands much wider than my family of four.
To honor my family, whose military roots run deep - spanning three generations and three branches of service, as well as the military community we love so much, we donate 5% of all sales to organizations that support military members and their families.
All that to say, when you order from my small business, it’s not just me doing a happy dance. It’s also the many others you’re helping me serve! Now, I’m leaving you with a mission for the day: find your chosen armor, in the form of military jewelry, to wear as a daily reminder and connection to your purpose, your community, your American hero - guiding you throughout your journey as the loved one of a service member.
Take a peek around our shop and browse each of the special collections we created to help military families tell their stories no matter which season of military family life they're in.