Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April: “Month of the Military Child”

Thanks to – “where military spouses connect” – I have just learned that April is the “Month of the Military Child.” Then, from the American Forces Press Service, I learned that this month-long recognition has been celebrated since 1986.

Leslye A. Arsht, deputy under secretary for military community and family policy, said: “Our military children are unsung heroes. This is our chance to thank them for being so supportive of their parents.”

According to the American Forces Press Service article, half of all current military children – or 1.2 million – have had a parent deploy to a combat area.

In my forthcoming book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL, one of the four new officers’ wives grew up as an “army brat” – someone who is the child of a parent in the U.S. Army. Of course in MRS. LIEUTENANT, which takes place in 1970, the military parent was the father. Today either parent or both can be the military parent in a family.

The 1979 movie “The Great Santini” starred Robert Duvall as a lieutenant colonel Marine pilot whose family must constantly adjust to new duty stations. During the course of the movie the teenage son struggles to win approval from his demanding father. This movie provides a dramatic portrayal of some of the hardships that military families face.

Those of us who as children have not had to move every year or so – changing schools so often that, after a while, we’re not sure which post we were on for which school year – may find it hard to appreciate the sacrifice that military families make for a parent or parents to serve in the military.

All of us should be aware of the difficulties these military families face, and we need to understand that sometimes some of these families need special help.

Go to my website at and click on “Support Military Families” to learn about organizations helping military personnel and their families. And consider supporting one or more of these organizations right now – in the “Month of the Military Child.”

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