Events

Get ready for the 2nd Annual Military Family Appreciation Day

Mark your calendars for the second annual Military Family Appreciation Day (MFAD) in Canada. Founded by Together We Stand (TWS), the annual event occurs on the third Friday of September.

“Working with Lt. General (Ret’d) the Honourable Andrew Leslie, MP (LPC), the Hon. Ed Fast, MP (CPC), and Murray Rankin, MP (NDP), we spearheaded the creation of a motion, which was introduced into the House of Commons and passed with unanimous consent in June 2019. The motion established Military Family Appreciation Day, which falls on the third Friday of September each year,” says Rick Seymour, CEO, Together We Stand.

The day came to be when the organization looked at the Canadian calendar and realized there was not a specific day to celebrate military families. At the same time, there are a few opportunities annually to celebrate serving members.

“Military Family Appreciation Day is a day for all Canadians to unite and honour Canadian military families for the sacrifices they make on behalf of the country,” Rick Seymour, CEO, Together We Stand

TWS is a unique Canadian organization established to honour, show appreciation, and recognize the tremendously important families that serve as the backbone of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Rick and Lillian Ekstein founded the organization. Laura Grosman spearheaded the initiative to create MFAD. She worked with parliament members on both sides of the aisle to get a Unanimous Consent Motion passed through the House of Commons on June 19th, 2019.

“Military Family Appreciation Day is a day for all Canadians to unite and honour Canadian military families for the sacrifices they make on behalf of the country,” says Seymour.

The fort challenge will run from September 1 up until September 18.

Due to COVID-19, TWS’s original plan of having free events on bases across the country for MFAD had to be modified. When planning began, the TWS team was not sure of what restrictions would be in place come mid-September.

TWS goal is to involve as many civilians, including politicians and other high-profile Canadians, to participate in an online campaign, where Canadians build (pillow or other) forts, and either take a photo or a short video where they say, “Thank you” to Canadian military families that hold down the fort while troops protect Canada at home and abroad. Participants are asked to use the hashtag #HomeFortChallenge.

They will also be encouraging Forces members to build forts, whether at home, on deployment, or on bases to thank their families for what they do.

“The last piece of this digital campaign is having friends, politicians, squadrons or units, etc. challenge each other to see who can build the best fort,” says Seymour.

This year MFAD is asking Canadians to build a fort and share it to thank Canadian military families that hold down the fort while troops protect Canada at home and abroad.

The fort challenge will run from September 1 up until September 18.

Rick Seymour says the importance of MFAD is to recognize that Military families support the serving member through deployments and other long separations.

“Unlike the serving member, these families must create their own structure to keep life on the home front together. Amidst relocations and ever-changing schedules, they raise children, find them new schools, healthcare, childcare, seek out work, support other families, and do whatever they can to make sure the serving member has a safe and stable home to return to,” stated Seymour.

TWS goal is to involve as many civilians, including politicians and other high-profile Canadians, to participate in an online campaign, where Canadians build (pillow or other) forts, and either take a photo or a short video where they say, “Thank you” to Canadian military families that hold down the fort while troops protect Canada at home and abroad. Participants are asked to use the hashtag #HomeFortChallenge.

He noted most Canadians are unaware of the struggles and triumphs of this subculture that silently helps the CAF protect the fabric of our diverse Canadian tapestry.

This is what MFAD is for, and to acknowledge and honour the sacrifices of those whose mission it is to bolster the resiliency of our men and women in uniform.

“Our military families deserve our thanks and appreciation for shouldering these tasks alone while their military family members protect all Canadians,” says Seymour.

He continued, “It is easy to say thank you, and this acknowledgement is incredibly meaningful to our military families. This is our one opportunity as civilians to appreciate in a public way the silent sacrifices of this community, and it is incumbent on every Canadian to take a moment to do so.”

People can contribute to the TWS foundation by visiting twsfoundation.ca.

People can also learn more about contributing to the organization’s holiday season campaign, where they gift holiday packages to military families spending the holiday season alone while their loved one is deployed.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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