DOD Celebrates Month of the Military Child
By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2011 – Children of U.S. service members around the world will be honored throughout the month for their contributions to their families’ well-being and sacrifices on behalf of the nation, a Defense Department official said.
Each April, Americans pause to recognize the nation’s 1.8 million military children during the Month of the Military Child, which marks its 25th anniversary this year.
“It’s really exciting that the Department of Defense, the White House and civic leaders recognize the sacrifices that military children make,” Barbara Thompson, director of the Pentagon’s office of family policy, children and youth, told American Forces Press Service. “It’s particularly important during these times of conflict, when children are missing their parents and are sacrificing a lot, to say your sacrifice is recognized and we want to commend you for what you do for your family.”
Throughout the month, military installations worldwide will host programs and activities for military children, including fairs, picnics, carnivals and parades, Thompson said. Communities also can get involved by sponsoring fun events to celebrate military children, she added.
Military children’s sacrifices and contributions have risen to the forefront in recent years, Thompson said, as people have become increasingly aware of the impact a decade of war is having on military families. Along with the typical military-related stressors of multiple moves and schools, children also have had to deal with long-term, multiple deployments and separations from one, or both, parents over the past 10-plus years, Thompson said.
More than 900,000 military children have had a parent deploy multiple times, she added.
Military children have known only war since 9/11, Thompson noted, and recent research suggests deployments and the length of time separated have an impact on children’s academic success and psychological well-being. Other research regarding children and attachment indicates that “this has to be a difficult time for military children,” she said....
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Our military children are HEROES, every day of the year. Honour THEIR service.