SAN ANTONIO — During April, U.S. military installations around the globe will recognize the contributions and sacrifices that service members’ sons and daughters make daily.
April is Month of the Military Child and is being celebrated with a theme of “Celebrate Military Children: The Strength of Our Future” on Army garrisons.
More than 1.7 million children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the armed forces. And it is estimated that more than 900,000 children have had one or both parents deployed multiple times.
Accordingly, garrison-level Child, Youth and School Services programs will hold special events to honor soldiers’ children. These events will stress the importance of providing children with quality services and support promised them through the Army Family Covenant, according to Installation Management Command officials.
Installations of all services are honoring military children by providing a month packed with special activities — arts and crafts shows, picnics, fishing derbies, carnivals, parades, block parties and other special activities — to acknowledge the unique contributions they make.
The monthlong celebration, first held in 1986, reinforces to military children that they are, indeed, a key part of the armed forces community.
For example, last year, First Lady Michelle Obama noted: “As a grateful nation, it is our sacred responsibility to stand by our military children, just as they and their families stand by us.”
President Barack Obama, earlier this year spotlighted the importance of military family support overall, recalling a trip to Afghanistan in December 2010 where he spoke to troops, asking what he could do to better support them.
“Without missing a beat,” he said, “they looked me in the eye and they gave me their answer. It wasn’t about more equipment. It wasn’t about more resources on the battlefield. In fact, it wasn’t about them.”
“They said ... ‘Sir, take care of our families. If we know our families are all right back home, then we can do our jobs.’”
In late January, Obama unveiled a government plan to strengthen military family support, including the education and development of military children and expanding child care options for military parents.
Servicemembers and their families, the president said, have done everything the nation has asked of them in this decade of war. Such commitment by the youngest members of the Army community will be highlighted throughout Month of the Military Child, and their accomplishments will be on display for all to appreciate.