Every day, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Guardians and Coast Guardsmen support and defend the nation and military members understand what it means to serve and sacrifice for their country. But what about the families that stand behind them?
Established in 1993 by the Armed Services YMCA, November is recognized as Military Family Appreciation Month. This month is set aside to honor the sacrifices that military families make in support of their service member.
Spouses have set their careers on hold, managed households by themselves, and weathered late nights and weekends alone in support of their partner. Children have endured birthdays, sporting events, or other holidays where one or both of their parents is absent due to their service.
“The no. 1 challenge I face as a military spouse is just general lack of control,” said Amber Hurst, former enlisted Soldier and spouse of CSM Danny Hurst. “The Army tells us where to live, what time my husband can come home for dinner, what doctor I can see. The Army dictates so much of our life and it’s hard to not have a say sometimes.”
The biggest reward to being a military spouse is having the opportunity to move around, to see different parts of the country and the world,” Hurst added. “Meeting others who come from a different background, who have different life experiences than me, is enlightening in so many ways.”
Many spouses find ways of making up the time they are away from their families by maximizing the opportunities when they return from long deployments or travel.
“For several years he had a job where he was TDY a lot,” explained Hurst. “That was rough, him always coming and going. It was impossible to find a routine. it was hard on me, him and the kids.”
But he made it a point to be absolutely present on those few days a month he was home,” continued Hurst. “He would get up, make breakfast, take over the household chores for the day, things like that. Just to give me a break and to show me that he appreciated all I did on my own, while he was gone.”
As this month closes, it is a chance to thank the family members for their dedication to their service member, as well as their resiliency and courage. Families provide our service members with invaluable encouragement and love; their dedication and strength during a deployment or separation is an inspiration to all.
“Throughout November, we show our appreciation to the spouses, partners, children, caregivers, and survivors of our service members and veterans for their selfless sacrifice on behalf of the nation,” said Joe Biden, President of the United States of America. “We honor them and their invaluable contributions; we share their pride in our Armed Forces; and we will never forget what they and their loved ones do for us.”