Juggling multiple schedules, figuring out the next career move and fixing a flat tire on the fly without a spouse or family around is all in day’s work for many military spouses.
The awe-inspiring resilience of military spouses was considered something worth celebrating 32 years ago by then U.S. President Ronald Reagan. And so, every year on Friday before Mother’s Day, the U.S. celebrates Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
“Serving alongside our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, our Nation’s military families give of themselves and give up their time with their loved ones so we may live safely and freely. Few Americans fully understand the sacrifices made by those who serve in uniform, but for spouses of service members across our country, the costs of the freedom we too often take for granted are known intimately. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we honor the spouses of those who have left behind everything they know and love to join our Nation’s unbroken chain of patriots, and we recommit to giving military spouses the respect, dignity, and support they deserve,” said President Barack Obama in today’s official proclamation of Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
The day is widely recognized by Americans. Various military, news and business organizations are sharing their appreciation of military spouses on Twitter.
The support system behind the men and women in uniform, spouses, often put their own ambitions and desires in the backseat for the sake of their serving spouse. As such, military spouses are often faced with various challenges including living far from family and finding suitable employment.
The 2013 Ombudsman of National Defence Report notes that “The overwhelming majority of partners engaged have experienced employment challenges firsthand since becoming military spouses, usually in the form of unemployment or underemployment. Another significant obstacle to spousal employment is the lack of professional opportunities in smaller communities where many CF members are posted.”
Though Canada has not quite caught up with celebrating military spouses the way, our neighbours to the south have, many organizations and government institutions, through the findings of the Ombudsman report, are beginning to realize the importance of providing support to military spouses.
Institutions like the Vanier Institute are making it their mission to provide research on military families to the relevant medical and government organizations and organizations like Canada Company have established programs to help military spouses find suitable employment.
However, ask any military spouse and they’ll tell you they don’t want pity, they aren’t victims. Instead, military spouses command respect for the contributions they’ve made to the country.
“Military spouses exhibit tremendous courage and unyielding faith, and in their spirit of resolve, we see the best of America. Let us celebrate these selfless individuals by supporting them and upholding our everlasting commitment to stand beside them and their families,” stated Obama.