By Amy Miller, AFC®
First recognized by former President Ronald Reagan in 1984, Military Spouse Appreciation Day is held the Friday before Mother’s Day each year. In the official proclamation, Reagan stated that the day would “be in recognition of the profound importance of spouse commitment to the readiness and well-being of service members on active duty and in the National Guard and Reserve, and to the security of our Nation.”
Later in 1999, Congress officially made the day part of National Military Appreciation Month.
Although Mil-Spouses don’t wear a uniform, they do serve our country by supporting our service members. They hold down the home front during deployments, training, and TDYs. They move frequently and often tackle parenting alone. They put off their own education and sacrifice careers to keep the family functioning while the service member is away on duty.
Our service members make a commitment to support and defend the constitution of the United States. You could also say that spouses take their own “oath” of commitment as well. They commit to standing beside their service member, inspiring and boosting morale, and giving their ALL to this unique life. They experience many highs and lows but continue to preserve and rise to any challenge faced. They are aware of their situations and emotions, they are resilient and strong, tough but caring and giving.
Some say that it’s a different and higher level of commitment than most spouses take and possibly one of the reasons we have the strongest military in the world.
When asked, most say they don’t need or want a pat on the back – that their spouse is who really sacrifices and is deserving of appreciation.
Although they may not ask for it or want it, I think we can all agree that Military Spouses also deserve some recognition. There are many ways to honor them this year on May 6th (or any other day for that matter) and I’ve listed a few ideas below:
- Drop off dinner
- Babysit for a date night, a nice lunch, or just some quiet time
- Gift certificates for dinner/coffee/lunch
- A bottle of wine
- Invite them over for coffee
- A note or card (I always love getting them in the mail)
- Introduce a new spouse to friends (and possibly recruit them for the local spouse’s club)
Mil-Spouse to Mil-Spouse
Often, I have found that the biggest supporter of Mil-Spouses is other Mil-Spouses. Coming from all walks of life and often having little in common other than loving a service member, mil-spouses rally around each other, encourage and give support like no other group.
Many people see the life of a military spouse as “hard” – I think most mil-spouses just see those struggles as normal, everyday life… another reason why they are truly the backbone of the military family.
No one understands the sacrifices made by our service members better than a military spouse, so I encourage you all to reach out and say “thanks” to the Mil-Spouses in your life. It’s not expected but is always nice to hear that you matter and are appreciated & supported.
I will leave you with a quote that I came across online recently that I feel is a fitting description of a Military Spouse and a perfect end to this article……
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (Swiss-American psychiatrist)
Personally, I’m so very grateful for the many spouses I have met over the years. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – I wouldn’t have made it through without a few of them! So, from the bottom of my heart – Thank you, Mil-Spouses – for all the support and understanding, strength and encouragement, the friendships, and the appreciation we have for each other. You truly are “beautiful people”.