Years ago, a friend wrote about her son, then deployed, in her Christmas letter. The words have stayed with me every military family appreciation month as she so aptly and eloquently wrote, “He might be the soldier, but his wife and children are the troopers.”
With holidays apart, quick turn-arounds on moves across the world, and the only constants being uncertainty and operational tempo, our military families truly are a special breed.
In a month typically associated with Thanksgiving, it’s not hard to be thankful for our military families.
Whether you take time to be grateful for your own family and/or our larger, big-picture family, now is the time to do it. This month, we recognize the tight-knit web of support that we weave from duty station to duty station. We acknowledge that with every goodbye, every countdown and every homecoming, we are teaching our children, our parents, our neighbors and our friends about service. About sacrifice. About what it really means to be a part of something bigger than yourself, for the greater good of our country. And, it’s a time for the rest of the nation to intentionally recognize what we all so often do in silence. The families are the troopers.
Every November, the President recognizes that with a proclamation, declaring it National Military Family Appreciation Month.
In his decree last year, President Obama wrote, “Since our country’s founding, brave members of our military have stood strong as one American team, ready to defend our homeland and safeguard the values for which we stand. They represent the best our Nation has to offer, and serving alongside them are proud and loving family members—heroes on the home front. Each day, they make sacrifices for their loved ones and their country. They have answered their call of duty, and as a Nation, we must answer ours and serve them as well as they have served us. During Military Family Month, we pay tribute to and thank our military families for their service to our country, and we recognize the extraordinary ways in which they give of themselves for us all.”
You and I both know military families are incredible; we’ve all witnessed incredible strength in the people around us.
We’ve seen the spouse whose other half is deployed step up to bring meals when someone else is hurting. We’ve watched the kids whose mom is deployed offer to rake the older neighbor’s lawn. We’ve seen first-hand parents put their “baby” on an airplane and console the people around them. Military families are strong, and we are mightier together. We are brave, and we are more courageous together. This military family appreciation month, we are appreciated, recognized and lauded… and we are grateful, together.