April provides us with a special occasion to recognize and celebrate the service of our military children. Established in 1986 by Caspar Weinberger, who served as Secretary of Defense at the time, Month of the Military Child acknowledges the significant place military children hold in our hearts.
Military Officer magazine said it best, when it said military children, like veterans and servicemembers, deserve recognition and appreciation for their selfless service. “Born in military hospitals around the globe, they will learn far too young goodbyes will be frequent and difficult. At some point in their toddler years, they inevitably will hug a camouflaged leg of someone other than their uniformed parent by mistake. They will move repeatedly, usually at the precise point in time when they feel most settled.”
Military families, and the children in particular, sacrifice in a way few civilians understand. Here are some of the challenges they face:
- Children of servicemembers can have one or both parents serving in the military.
- They can live on or near a large military base or reside in a geographically isolated command post.
- They may be sent to stay with grandparents, other family members, or a guardian when parents deploy
- Children of servicemembers may experience the stress of numerous deployments.
- Each of the three phases of deployment – pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment (reunion) – has its own unique challenges for the child and the family.