Installation Management Command Public Affairs
It’s the preschool child who, without being asked, passes his dessert to his little sister, simply because she looks sad. It’s the second-grader who bravely puts a picture of her father at the head of the table for her birthday party, and the fifth-grade siblings who donate all their earnings from their lemonade stand to the USO, which both their parents passed through on the way to Iraq.
It’s the junior high band member who asks if the spring concert can be dedicated to our deployed service members, and it’s the high school cheerleader who organizes a “care package” drive.
It’s the college graduate who clings just a little longer to her father, wishing that her mother was at the commencement ceremony, instead of in Afghanistan.
These are our military children, our nation’s heroes.
With so much media attention focused on Soldiers returning from war, and the sacrifices they’ve made for our freedom, we don’t want to overlook the youth who quietly support them in the background.
Approximately two million children have experienced the deployment of one or both of their parents in the last ten years.
They brave their own battlefields. They rely on an inner strength to face each day. They swallow their fears and disappointment because they know that their Soldier-parent is doing something important.
They inspire us with their resiliency.
It’s hard for the average American to fathom how well our children cope. How those who are old enough to understand dread an unexpected knock on the door. How much joy they feel when their uniformed parent steps off the airplane in a sea of red, white and blue, like the Soldier on the battlefield who pushes forward because he has to. They, too, push forward, counting the days and hours until the end of the deployment.
Our military children are heroes. Let’s not let them be unsung heroes.
Military installations around the world have celebrated the Month of the Military Child each April since 1986. Communities are hosting fairs, youth centers are sponsoring special events and garrisons around the world are taking a little time this month to honor military kids to thank them for their service.
It’s a relatively common sight today to see a stranger say “thanks for your service” to a service member in uniform. This month, take it a step further.
Take a moment to thank the child holding his or her hand.
Their heroism deserves our gratitude.