We know that our soldiers sacrifice holidays, birthdays, and family milestones. We know they experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, and sometimes fear. We also know that they swore an oath to protect our country, our rights, and our freedom. For all of this and more, we are extremely grateful and thankful.
While we recognize the necessity and sacrifice that comes with serving, we also know that many times there are silent souls left behind—families. Spouses are working hard to keep everything together, often raising children as single parents.
Children feel the sacrifice, too. There are constant adjustments to make—deployments, relocations, new schools, and new friends. Military kids experience a wide range of emotions related to these cyclical changes.
Month of the Military Child
Military children are faced with unique situations that other children may never experience. Their ability to adapt to present and future changes deserves our respect and admiration. In an effort to recognize and applaud the strength and courage of these children, in 1986 former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger declared April as Month of the Military Child. The Department of Defense (DOD) continues to promote this special month-long celebration focused on blessing and supporting military families and their children for the sacrifices they make.
Watch this short video to learn more about Month of the Military Child.
Purple Up! For Military Kids
In 2011, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Military Youth and Family Program started the “Purple Up! for Military Kids” initiative. Everyone—including schools, youth groups, businesses, and organizations—were encouraged to wear purple to show support to military children. The goal of the program was for military youth to actually see the support in their school, youth groups, and the community.
The color purple was chosen because it represents the combined colors of all the branches of the military—Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red, and Navy blue.
This initiative has grown over the years and received national recognition. If you haven't in the past, it's time to join the cause! Mark your calendar and help spread the word. This year “Purple Up! for Military Kids” will be celebrated on Friday, April 21. If you choose to wear purple, be sure to share a photo on the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Facebook page!
Ways to celebrate our military children
There are many fun things we can do to recognize and celebrate military children. Here are a few ideas that you can implement in your home, schools, or community.
- Care package - If you know a military family, send them a care package to show them that you're thinking of them and appreciate their sacrifice. If there are young children, you may want to include GI Josh.
- Storytime - Get permission to read in your child's school classroom. Read stories about military kids’ experience, the military lifestyle, or what it's like being the new kid in school.
- Show-n-Tell - This can be done in a classroom, social group, or church. Ask students to learn about their family's military service. Have them bring in something military related. For instance, memorabilia from an installation or service branch, photo of grandfather in dress blues, Army book, or sailor's hat. A child whose parent is currently serving can share an item from a past location or an updated family photo.
- US Pride Days - Dress up throughout the month of April. Identify one day each week to highlight military families. A few ideas include: favorite service logo day, patriotic day, red Fridays, and of course, purple on “Purple Up! for Military Kids” day.
- Hero Wall - Create a Hero Wall to honor those in public service. Use a bulletin board or poster to display the heroes in each child’s life. It could be a family member or family friend currently serving, or a veteran who served (living or dead). It could also be someone who does good in a community—firefighters, policemen, first responders, or religious figures.
For more ideas, check out 18 Amazing Ways to Celebrate the Month of the Military Child and Celebrating the Month of the Military Child.
A family getaway especially for military families
When a spouse returns home from an overseas deployment, quality family and rebuilding time is in order. Consider arranging a free family vacation at Sandy Cove Ministries as part of the reintegration process. We created Operation Oasis as a way to say "Thank you!" to our military servicemen and women and their families.
Any service man or woman in uniform, including those in the Reserve and National Guard, returning home from an overseas deployment that separated them from their family within the last 12 months, may come to Sandy Cove with their immediate family for FREE!
Military personnel can also take advantage of our 10% military discount on all program events. This discount is available to any member of the armed forces in any branch and immediate family members living in the household.
We encourage you to take advantage of this program and to spread the word. Tell all your military friends! Everyone can use time away to reconnect with each other.
- 5 Ways To Keep Your Family Close During Deployment
- 4 Ways to Help Your Children Reconnect With Their Reintegrating Parent
- 3 Opportunities To Reconnect With Your Spouse After Deployment