Military child, either you are one, or you know one. This term of endearment is a badge of honor to be worn by the resilient children whose lives have been shaped by the specific trials of being part of a military family. They are wildflowers in the wind that bloom where they are planted and steadfastly shoulder the price of freedom.
The month of April serves as a time to recognize these sons and daughters of our military warriors and to sing their praise. These little souls carry the toll of deployments, separation, countless moves, and possible injuries of their parents in the line of duty. The life of a military child, thus forges courageous children who grow up knowing that their upbringing has equipped them with the tenacity and strength to face any challenge.
This month of recognition was started in 1968, by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and the Department of Defense has continued to honor this month ever since. Children who have one or both parents serving in the military have become more visible since Weinberger’s establishment of April’s importance within the military community. In addition, there has been a marked increase in campaigns aimed to recognize and aid in the mental, emotional, and physical health of military children.
All branches of the military come together on April 15th in order to honor the daily challenges these young warriors face and overcome. Army Green, Air Force blue, Navy blue, Coast Guard blue, and Marine red are combined to create a singular unifying color, purple- to represent united support for our military children. Americans are encouraged to Purple Up! and wear purple in support of the dependent children whose daily sacrifices encompass the strength of the American spirit.
The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) operates 166 schools specifically for military children worldwide and notes on its official site that administrators, principles, and staff are encouraged to incorporate themes of this month into their daily responsibilities and duties. This mentality keeps children at risk for behavioral and developmental challenges in mind at all times and acknowledges the overall battles faced by all military children as they learn and grow in this difficult lifestyle.
The Patriot Belle wishes to sing out hope for the children reaching for parents who are not there and acknowledge our deployed men and women whose hearts ache for the little ones they wish to hold. By singing their names, may we never forget that freedom is not free, but rather is paid for with sacrifice and heart.
The Military Child According to The DoD:
* Approximately 1.2 million children have experienced a parental deployment since 9/11.
* There are currently 1.2 million children in active duty member households worldwide.
* An average military family moves three times more than civilian families.
* Almost 80% of military children attend public schools in the U.S.
* There are nearly two million “total-force dependent children” including more than 900,000 Army dependents, 400,000 Air Force dependents, nearly 300,000 Navy and approximately 118 thousand Marine dependents.
* DoD reports there are 700 military children development program facilities worldwide overseeing approximately 155,000 child-care spaces and 3,000 Family Child Care homes.