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Appreciate the Military Spouse on May 11, 2012

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The Role of a Military Spouse

Our service members are as strong as the support they receive. Military spouses are often referred to as the ‘backbone of the military.’

Across America and around the world, military spouses serve our country in their own special way. They balance family life, military life, and their careers, all while supporting other military families and giving back to their communities. They help families and friends through the stress of a deployment, care for our wounded warriors, and support each other when a loved one has made the ultimate sacrifice.

Military spouses are a group of unrelated strangers bound together by the shared experience of adventure and their bonds are forged by the flames of adversity. Their contributions help protect our freedom by strengthening our communities, thus keeping our service members ‘mission ready.’

Honoring Military Spouses

Our country’s service members and their families seldom ask for support or recognition. They carry out their duties to family and country with quiet courage and strength. They exemplify the American spirit.

The first Military Spouse Day was first celebrated in 1984 when then-President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the observance to honor the contributions of military spouses. The military now sets aside the Friday before Mother’s Day each year to pay tribute to the spouses who play a vital role in the nation’s defense. Military Spouse Day is a time to recognize the sacrifices made by military spouses in support of their loved ones in uniform.

This year we celebrate this special day on May 11th, giving everyone a day in which to express our gratitude in both word and deed.

What This Day Means to Me

I have been a military spouse for almost two decades. Although I’ve never had the honor of serving my country as a service member, I comprehend the concept of needing a ‘battle buddy’ by my side.  Military families are bound together with a common goal – a need to support each other in order to survive.

May 11th, 2012 is not just any day for me, nor is it just a day to be recognized for my role as a military wife. On a more personal level, it is also the day my son officially graduates from boot camp and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) in Fort Benning, Georgia. Following the exact footsteps his father made in 1984, he joined the Infantry.

This day is especially important for the both of us as my husband is also a severely-injured veteran. The pride my husband and I feel in seeing our son serve his country, despite the risks and possible outcomes, is profound.

Photo credit: Operation Homefront Wounded Warrior Wives

I can assure you that none of us, not me, my husband nor my son went into this journey of adversity just to get any thanks. However, sometimes that is all we have to get through the most difficult times.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a time to recognize the sacrifices made by military spouses in support of their loved ones in uniform. Just a simple thanks can mean the world to many. I know it does for me.

Ways To Say “Thank You” To Military Spouses

There are many ways for each of us to show our appreciation for military spouses. Working through community-based organizations, workplaces, schools, and places of worship, we can help them support their families, establish or build careers, and address the unique challenges they face.

Military spouses shoulder a huge responsibility. Small gestures such as asking “how can I help?” can mean the world to a spouse who is overworked and clearly underpaid. As neighbors, teachers, parents, and fellow citizens, we can reach out to military husbands and wives in our communities. We can show our appreciation in countless ways, from offering to help with household maintenance and childcare to encouraging the community involvement and career development of military spouses.

Taking a load off their shoulders will actually strengthen them in the end.

Today, you can honor the spouses and families who support our service members.  In doing so, you take part in helping defend our Nation and preserve our liberty. And, you never know…you may just make someone’s day by using two simple words.

 

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