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Military Spouses: Symbols of Sacrifice and Dedication

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Military Spouses: Symbols of Sacrifice and Dedication

May -- Military Appreciation Month

By Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)

Ohio's service men and women are part of the best fighting force ever assembled in our Nation's history. They are doing a magnificent job serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe. We often honor these men and women with parades and rallies and by sending them packages and writing them letters. However, we often forget to recognize the support system that keeps these men and women going -- and that support system is their families.

During Military Appreciation Month, I want to honor those in uniform, but also pay special tribute to their families. More than half of active duty troops, reservists, and members of the National Guard have families, and on average, each service member with a family has two children. More than 70 percent of those children are 14 years-old or younger. We owe these military families a tremendous debt of gratitude for the services they have performed in supporting their loved ones in uniform.

When service members are deployed, they have to adjust to their new duties in far away locations, often in dangerous environments. Meanwhile, spouses keep the family running, attempting to fill the void left by the absence of an active duty parent. This leaves all the homework help, packed lunches, rides to soccer practice, and piano lessons with the non-deployed parent.

Staying behind is not just about taking care of the children; it often involves taking on the financial responsibilities of the family. When called to active duty, reserve and Guard troops often take pay cuts, forcing some military spouses to take on second jobs or face a tightened family budget. Further, a military husband or wife must provide unmatched support to the deployed spouse. Whether it is an upbeat phone call, or care packages, letters, and emails to keep morale high, letting a deployed service member know they are missed, cared for, and loved is one of the most important duties a military spouse
can provide.

Finally, the job of a military spouse does not end when the deployment is over. It is often after the welcome home celebrations that a husband or wife is needed most. They are often the people who help their "soldier turn citizen" again after long deployments in stressful situations. The comfort they provide helps troops readjust to family life.

By their daily actions, military spouses show their loved ones that their sacrifices were not in vain, that their patriotism is admired, and that they, too, are heroes. For their unyielding support before, during, and after troop deployment, military spouses deserve
to be honored.

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