Today's post is kind of one of my favorites I've written in a while. I was able to test out R. Riveter's new Corbin backpack before it was released to the public and Y'all, I am obsessed. But this post is pretty much me fangirling over the namesake for the backpack. Trust me, you'll understand why when you hear more about Margret Corbin. Let me also just say that I normally hate backpacks. I'm not exaggerating when I say I look like a little preschooler in most backpacks because of how large they are on my frame. The Corbin is a perfect size and has my favorite feature in a backpack: lots of pockets. I was able to lug around a laptop, two cameras, and goodness knows what else in this thing! It's also convertible into a crossbody which is seriously innovative. I don't think there's anything this backpack can't handle, just like it's fierce namesake and all of my fellow military spouses out there.
When I first started working at West Point, I had heard talk of the Margret Corbin monument that stands tall in the West Point Cemetery but I'll be honest, it would be three years before I actually learned who Margret Corbin was. This is a shame because Margret Corbin was one pretty badass woman. Bit of a history lesson coming at ya, but Margret Corbin basically one of the most amazing military spouses in history.
Margret Cochran Corbin was born in 1751 and married her husband, John Corbin, at the ripe age of 21, just as the Revolutionary War was on the horizon. When her husband joined the Pennsylvania military and left for war, Corbin chose to follow her husband and worked tirelessly cooking, cleaning, and taking care of sick and injured soldiers in the midst of the Revolutionary War.
During the Battle of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island, Corbin ditched her dress for a man's uniform and joined her husband on the battlefield. Corbin helped her husband load his cannon and watched as her husband was taken as a fatality during the battle. Instead of stopping, however, Corbin took up her husband's position and continued firing the cannon on the British. She affectionately earned the name "Captain Molly" and was praised for her "steady aim and sure-shot". Corbin continued fighting until she had nearly lost her left arm completely, she would never recover the use of that arm. On July 6, 1779, Corbin received a lifelong pension and a new uniform from the Continental Congress in recognition of her brave service. In 1926 her remains were moved from an obscure grave along the Hudson River and moved to West Point where she was buried with full military honors. (Thanks to this website for the great background info!).
The Margret Cochran Corbin monument was recently redone at West Point so I began learning more about this amazing and resourceful military spouse as I was on the cusp of becoming a military spouse myself. I began reflecting on how strong of a woman Margret Corbin must have been and how I could draw from her strength as a new military spouse.
When you start dating someone who is in the military you are met with all of these stereotypes. There are so many stereotypes about military spouses out there that it can be disheartening as a new military significant other to not get bogged down by them. I knew going into my military marriage that I wanted to be an example for all of those young military spouses to look up to which got me thinking a lot more about Margret Corbin. When R. Riveter announced that they were going to be making a backpack that was named the Corbin in her honor, it further enticed the spark that has become this post today.
Military Spouses are faced with all sorts of uncertainty. In fact, I would say that uncertainty about the future is the only thing that's really certain for a military spouse. I want to be fearless in the face of uncertainty. Not fearless in the sense of not being afraid of anything, but I want to be able to stand tall in those waves of uncertainty and push myself and my family through them. I can't imagine how scared Margret Corbin must have been when she watched her husband die. But at that moment she didn't let the fear keep her from acting, she chose to take up his place and do what she could to help the fight. While I don't see myself literally rushing into battle like Corbin did, I think there is still a lot we as military spouses can take from Corbin's actions in support of her husband.
More than just being fearless, I want to be kind. Margret Corbin worked with the wounded, she helped feed and take care of injured troops, and I'm sure she helped more than just them while traveling with her husband. She created a foundation for a community to grow in a very uncertain time, she was a piece of that community that people knew could be relied upon to help them when they were in need. She didn't do things for the glory, didn't shy away from work that wasn't easy. She rolled up her sleeves and handled it. She helped all of those that needed her and continued to do so even after she lost her husband and use of one of her arms.
Margret Corbin was resilient and stood up when her country and her soldier needed her. That is exactly the kind of military spouse I want to be. You better believe that I'll be getting my hands on the R. Riveter Corbin backpack the instant they're released nationwide. Click here to get added to the Corbin launch waitlist!