September 20th, 2019, will mark the nation’s first Military Family Appreciation Day (MFAD).
The event aims to provide the public with a chance to thank and honour military families that support life on the home front, while members of the Canadian Armed Forces fulfil their professional duties, both in Canada and overseas.
There are approximately 60,000 Regular Force Canadian military families and roughly 65,000 children with at least one parent currently serving in the CAF.
Sarah Rozema-Seaton, a military spouse and working mother of three, has supported her husband, who has been deployed on several overseas tours, the first of which was to Afghanistan in 2005.
“Military families face unique military-lifestyle challenges such as relocations, deployments, temporary duties, finding new schools for their children and an ever-changing schedule,” she explained.
“Despite almost constant uncertainty, military families are highly resilient, supporting family on both the front lines and the home front. Recognition of the contributions and sacrifices families make towards supporting our soldiers through MFAD is a true honour that touches our hearts, as it has never been done before.” Sarah Rozema-Seaton,
Retired Lieutenant-General Alain Parent, former acting vice chief of the defence staff, has said, “Our military personnel are able to focus on their tasks at hand because of the support their families and loved ones give them. It is therefore incumbent upon us as Canadians to recognize the formidable challenges military families undertake to do this, and for the first time, show our gratitude to them.”
The Together We Stand Foundation (TWS), of which Parent is an honorary council member, is a non-profit organization that distributes gift boxes to military families with a loved one deployed overseas during the holiday season.
Former Prime Ministers Martin and Harper are honorary TWS patrons.
TWS worked together, with Member of Parliament Orleans (ret’d) Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, Member of Parliament Abbotsford Ed Fast, and Member of Parliament Victoria Murray Rankin, to gain all-party support for a unanimous consent motion, which was moved in the House of Commons on June 19, 2019.
The motion marked the third Friday of each September as Military Family Appreciation Day.
The organization noted ways Canadians can get involved:
- Write to military families by visiting: www.twsfoundation.ca
- Post thank you notes on your social media platforms using the hashtag #MFAD or #MFADThankYou
“Canada as a whole has not yet thanked these patriotic military families who suffer constant stress and worry as their loved ones keep our country safe – now is the time to do so,” said Rick Ekstein, president and co-founder TWS.