Friday, May 8, 2009

Military Spouse Day: First Lady Promises More Support

Today is Military Spouse Day. Military Spouse. Two words, unbelievable meaning. To understand the true meaning of the title you must be part of the military community. To understand the true meaning of the title is to be in awe of some of the strongest and bravest men and women our nation has ever seen.

Being a military spouse is so much more than being a spouse. Friend. Caretaker. Supporter. Military families wouldn't be families if there wasn't a military spouse. The saying, behind every great man there is a great woman, is especially true in military families. I truly believe that behind every great military member there is an amazing military spouse. Male or female.

There was a recent survey done by Blue Star families that reveals that 94 percent of military families feel as if the country doesn't understand their challenge. The struggles include moving, finding schools, jobs and childcare. Most importantly, these challenges are faced when their spouse is deployed which can make the challenges significantly harder.

First Lady Michelle Obama took time to address this statistic yesterday during an interview with The Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service. She said that she was "surprised" and that the "administration is moving ahead with concrete measures to make military families' lives a little easier."

Measures include 2.9 percent increase in salary for service members and an investment of $80 million for career development and training for spouses. Obama also stated that she feels like the communities across the nation can also do something to improve the situation.

"There's also a separate call to the nation that has nothing to do with the government," she said. "It's what we do in our own neighborhoods that's also an important part of what this community of families needs to feel."

When asked about how she felt about the special day Obama said, "It's a wonderful recognition, but that's just one day. We should be doing it every day."

I couldn't agree with her more. As a military brat, I know that I could not have succeeded in a military family without my amazing mother. Military spouses are what I call silent service members. They may not wear BDUs but they have their own special uniforms. Invisible uniforms. They may not wear ranks or pins. They may not salute. They have never taken an oath to serve the military formally, but they did when they said their marriage vows.

And when their husband or wife goes into battle, so do they and so does their family. They endure the battle of keeping their family strong and positive. And just as their husband or wife spend every day protecting the men and women of our nation, they too set out on a mission of protection. To protect their families, to protect their fellow military spouses, to provide their families a sense of normal. To me, they are the unsung military heroes.

Thank you to all of the military spouses stationed throughout the world. Without you nothing in a military family would ever run smoothly or ever seem normal. Your sons, daughters, spouses and military community owe you everything. You hold us all together. And for that . . . you are our heroes.

*** Please take time to pause and remember all of the military spouses who lost their military service members this year. Thank you for enduring the greatest sacrifice any spouse can endure for our great nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families today and always. ***

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