The United States Department of Defense (DOD) observes April as the Month of the Military Child in recognition of the year-round contributions, courage and patriotism of their military community’s youngest members
“Established by then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1986, the month recognizes U.S. military children ranging in age from infants to 18 years old who have one or both parents serving in the armed forces,” said Barbara Thompson, the director of DoD’s Office of Family Readiness Policy.
According to a DOD media release each year the Pentagon uses the month of April to highlight the sacrifices military children make and the support they offer the military member.
Thompson explained moves, deployments and training activities, among other facets of military life can present unique challenges to children who must constantly adjust to distance, unfamiliarity and uncertain schedules.
“That can be a real sacrifice, because each parent is a very important part of that child’s makeup,” said Thompson. “So we want to make sure that when they move or change schools, all of those transition times are supported with resources, programs and services.”
Across the United States parades, fairs, art and poetry contests will abound as installations develop engaging activities to solidify the bonds among military families and communities.
In Canada there is no month dedicated to military children. However, social media has been flooded with memes, posts and tweets generated in the United States.
According to Regan Gorski, executive director of the Moose Jaw Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) children of Canadian Armed Forces members also deal with significant challenges, foremost among them being frequent postings and family separations.
“A month dedicated in acknowledgement of the military child would provide an opportunity to build support and awareness of the unique challenges they face every day. More importantly, it would allow the formal recognition of their resiliency, courage and resourcefulness in dealing with the challenges of the military lifestyle,” said Gorski.
Canadian military children, although adaptable and resilient, have to rebuild their world as a result of unique stressors and define their place within that world. They too deserve to be recognized.