Harris Wofford has had two great loves: his wife of 48 years and his soon-to-be husband.

"At age 70, I did not imagine that I would fall in love again and remarry."

So begins an emotional and poignant personal essay from former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford published in The New York Times on Sunday.

The story Wofford tells is one of two loves, growing old, history, and a changing of tides.


Wofford campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008. Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images.

On Jan. 3, 1996, Harris Wofford lost his wife, Clare, to leukemia.

They had been married 48 years; "a lifetime together," he wrote. When Clare died, Wofford felt lucky to be alive and grateful to have a job where he could serve his country, but understandably, he felt lost as well.

Wofford and Usher (!!!) at a hearing on improving America's commitment to service and volunteerism. Photo by Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images.

"I wondered what it would be like living by myself for the rest of my life. I was sure I would never again feel the kind of love Clare and I shared," Wofford wrote.

Yet, at age 75, Wofford found love again.

According to Wofford, he was standing alone on a beach in Florida when he was approached by two men who came over to say hello. That was when he met then-25-year-old Matthew Charlton.

"As we talked, I was struck by Matthew’s inquisitive and thoughtful manner and his charm," wrote Wofford. "I knew he was somebody I would enjoy getting to know. We were decades apart in age with far different professional interests, yet we clicked."

Pretty soon, the two were touring Europe together and meeting each other's families. In time, Wofford's children welcomed Charlton as part of their family, and Charlton's family did the same for Wofford.


Wofford was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2012 for his service to the country. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

As of Sunday, Wofford and Charlton have been together for 15 years. Soon, they'll be getting married.

"On April 30, at ages 90 and 40, we will join hands, vowing to be bound together: to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part."

There are many reasons why Wofford's story about his second great love is so notable: his age, his history, his career in politics, his romance-novel courtship of Matthew — to name a few.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of this story, however, is the fact that Wofford was born in 1926, long before there was an active LGBT rights movement and a time when doctors still treated homosexuality as a mental illness.

Despite decades of socially-constructed ideas about gender and sexuality, Wofford has embraced love for what it is: something beautiful, something unpredictable, and something that is for everyone.


Wofford was 89 when the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage the law of the land. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Wofford knows that something as simple and as complicated as love can't be put in a box and labeled.

For 48 years, he loved a woman, and now he loves a man. It doesn't mean he's a different person or that his 48-year marriage to Clare wasn't special. It simply means he's not afraid to love who he loves.

"I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness."

Frankly, we should all be so lucky.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via The Winter Haven Police Department / Facebook

A controversial post by the Winter Haven Police Department in Florida has dredged up a unique debate over whether it's acceptable for a seemingly desperate father to steal from a multi-billion dollar corporation.

On Saturday, the police department posted security camera footage of a man pushing a shopping cart with his two young children at a local Walmart. According to the police, the man attempted to buy diapers and baby wipes but his card was declined at the self-checkout.

The man left the store then returned without the children to buy the products with a different card which was also declined.

The man then left the store with the items without paying.

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