November is
Military Family Month

Military Family Month celebrates military families, such as these shown eagerly awaiting the return of their loved ones onboard USS Ronald Reagan.

November is Military Family Month, an opportunity for all of us to show our gratitude to military families, which includes not just military spouses and children, but also parents and siblings.

These family members provide that vital family support system to our military service members, which allows them to focus on safely completing their mission, because they know that their families are being taken care of.

Most of these military families accept with grace challenges and circumstances that many would find untenable. They face:
Saying goodbye is always hard for military families.

  • constant worry about the safety of their loved ones, and the effect that the separation brought on by frequent deployments is having on their children and families;
  • separation on holidays, birthdays and milestone events like the birth of a child;
  • frequent relocation, often far from friends and family, sometimes in countries where even the language is foreign; and
  • uncertainties about their future plans that civilians would find intolerable.

It's always seemed strange to me that civilians make their vacation plans (and reservations, and buy tickets) sometimes a year in advance. Military families just laugh at the thought. They learn quickly that all plans are subject to change, and a schedule is merely a suggestion. Flexibility and adaptability are key to survival in a military family.

I've written on other pages about my own experience as a Navy wife whose husband was transferred early while I was in the midst of law school. My law school classmates found it unthinkable that I would have to take 6 months off, skip a semester, transfer schools, and move across the country twice between my first and second years in law school.

But that's exactly what I did. It was nerve-wracking and stressful for a while, but it all worked out in the end. And the cloud had a silver lining: my new school accepted all my transfer credits but none of my grades, which definitely helped my GPA!

Our military families take it all in stride, and not only survive, but thrive. It takes a special type of person to adapt and adjust to, and embrace, life as part of a military family.

So this month, as we celebrate Military Family Month, let's all take the opportunity to express our gratitude to military families, especially military spouses who bear the brunt of the burden. Tell them how much you appreciate the sacrifices their family is making to preserve the freedom you enjoy.

Presidential Proclamation

President Barack Obama issued the following proclamation designating November as Military Family Month:




We owe each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support.

During Military Family Month, we celebrate the exceptional contributions of our military families, and we reaffirm our commitments to these selfless individuals who exemplify the highest principles of our Nation.

Across America, military families inspire us all with their courage, strength, and deep devotion to our country. They endure the challenges of multiple deployments and moves; spend holidays and life milestones apart; juggle everyday tasks while a spouse, parent, son, or daughter is in harm's way; and honor the service of their loved ones and the memory of those lost.

Just as we hold a sacred trust to the extraordinary Americans willing to lay down their lives to protect us all, we also have a national commitment to support and engage our military families. They are proud to serve our country; yet, they face unique challenges because of that service.

My Administration has taken important steps to help them shoulder their sacrifice, and we are working to ensure they have the resources to care for themselves and the tools to reach their dreams. We are working to improve family resilience, enhance the educational experience of military children, and ensure military spouses have employment and advancement opportunities, despite the relocations and deployment cycles of military life. Our historic investment to build a 21st-century Department of Veterans Affairs is helping to provide our veterans with the benefits and care they have earned.

We are also standing with our service members and their families as they transition back into civilian life, providing counseling as well as job training and placement. And, through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, our veterans and their families can pursue the dream of higher education.

However, Government can only do so much. While only a fraction of Americans are in military families, all of us share in the responsibility of caring for our military families and veterans, and all sectors of our society are better off when we reach out and work together to support these patriots.

By offering job opportunities and workplace flexibility, businesses and companies can benefit from the unparalleled dedication and skills of a service member or military spouse.Through coordination with local community groups, individuals and organizations can ensure our military families have the help they need and deserve when a loved one is deployed. Even the smallest actions by neighbors and friends send a large message of profound gratitude to the families who risk everything to see us safe and free.

As America asks ever more of military families, they have a right to expect more of us -- it is our national challenge and moral obligation to uphold that promise. If we hold ourselves to the same high standard of excellence our military families live by every day, we will realize the vision of an America that supports and engages these heroes now and for decades to come.

Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2010 as Military Family Month. I call on all Americans to honor military families through private actions and public service for the tremendous contributions they make in support of our service members and our Nation.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

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