As President Obama said in his proclamation declaring November as Military Family Month, behind each service member "stands a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse -- proud family members who share the weight of deployment and make profound sacrifices on behalf of our country."
During this month, we have the opportunity to highlight the contributions, sacrifices, and resilience of the families who wear yellow ribbons while managing responsibilities at home. President Obama's proclamation marking the month not only highlights the breadth of those waiting for our soldiers to come home but provides a challenge for all Americans to support the families of those who fight for us.
“When a young woman signs up to defend our Nation, her parents are enlisted as well. When a father deploys to a combat zone, his children are called to serve on the home front. And when the men and women of our military serve far from home, their families feel the strain of their absence. … This month, we reaffirm that we will always lift up our military families -- not just when their loved ones are away, but also long after the welcome home ceremonies are over.”
Some of the major stresses that American families may face a few times over decades can become common occurrences for military families. The often-transient nature of military life can bring challenges that create issues related to education and employment and that are amplified by the frequency of their moves. The physical or emotional scars our returning soldiers carry from their service can also stress family members and their support systems.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) supports our active duty military, veterans, and military families through initiatives and programs, such as the Community Blueprint, that aim to address the needs of this underserved group. Additionally, our AmeriCorps members, Senior Corps volunteers, and Social Innovation Fund programming address areas of need to create opportunity and resolve problems within this community.
CNCS and other organizations have tools that can help you create projects and serve this special cohort. Consider these ideas and resources or search for others to support and serve our troops, veterans, and military families during the holiday season and all year long.
- Joining Forces – This White House initiative focuses on supporting servicemen and women, veterans, and military spouses, by providing the resources to help them with employment and other issues.
- Blue Star Families – This group helps support, connect, and empower military families by bridging the gap between families and support and service organizations.
- National Military Family Association – This organization focuses on issues that are important to military families.
- CNCS Veterans and Military Families toolkits – Interested in creating your own project to support and serve military families? We have toolkits to help you plan and execute your ideas.
The needs of our soldiers, veterans, and their families deserve recognition more than a few times a year. It's important that we recognize their service and sacrifices so the one percent of Americans serving can feel the appreciation of the 99 percent that reap the benefits.