By Lucy Luginbill
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Scott and Tiffany Smiley are sharing their story to help others see there is hope and life on the other side of any struggle.
Long before “girl power” was in vogue and Beyonce had added her voice to the mix, one young woman was already learning what it took to be strong.
“I was a tomboy farm girl, I guess,” Tiffany Smiley said as she reminisced about growing up north of Pasco, Wash., miles from town, and often sporting bows and ribbons in her hair. “Those country girl experiences shaped my toughness. If you got bucked off your horse, you had to get back on. And if your steer kicked you in the leg, you still had to go back out and keep working to train him properly.”
Little did Tiffany realize during her teen and college years how courage and determination would play out in the days ahead. America was at peace and the future beckoned. In time, there would be a fiance on her arm and a registered nursing degree in her pocket.
“It was like this picture of the American dream,” she said, thinking back to that idyllic period while husband-to-be Scott prepared at West Point and she studied at Whitworth College.
“Here he’s going to be this military academy graduate and he’s marrying this nurse, and the future is going to be bright, and our new last name is Smiley. Oh, it’s just wonderful!” she said in a lilting voice.
But before the marriage vows could even be rehearsed, the picture changed on Sept. 11, 2001, when the U.S. homeland was attacked. In a changed world, Scott and Tiffany both went on to complete their education. But their “perfect” life together had shifted, too. Within six months of their wedding, Scott was deployed to Iraq.