In 1984, Ronald Reagan proclaimed the Friday before Mother's Day as Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
Today is a time to acknowledge the sacrifices that the families of our soldiers make.
As one site put it:
While their husbands or wives took an oath and signed on a dotted line when they joined the military, spouses were enlisted through the back door with the vows they took on their wedding day.
Military spouses are practically as much a part of the military as their soldiers are. They are, in many ways, the unsung heroes.
In the case of active military members, being a spouse means moving every three years, maybe to a new state, maybe to a new country.
For those in the National Guard, it can mean a surprise deployment, not living on a military base but instead in a regular neighborhood where your family is the only one going through the challenges of deployment. (This is the case with the families in Band of Sisters.)
The sacrifices of military spouses are often overlooked for the simple fact that most of us are unaware of them.
If you know a military family, today is a great day to say thanks. Give a call. Bring a treat. Make a card. Send an e-mail.
If you know a family with a deployed parent, do more. Offer to babysit so the parent at home can have time alone. Find something concrete to help with, whether it's getting the lawn mower ready for summer or dropping off library books before they're due.
Want to support military families but don't know any personally? Remember that you can donate to the Flat Daddy project! It's a way of doing something concrete, something that makes an immediate difference with a huge impact. (So far around 8,500 Flat Daddies are out there. I'd love that number to reach five digits!)
Remember, you can now donate to the Flat Daddy project in any denomination. If you can give an entire Flat Daddy, great! If you can donate only ten bucks, that's great too!
To donate a Flat Daddy to a specific family, be sure to get their e-mail address so they can be sent their code to claim it.
After reading Band of Sisters, a friend of mine went to a military spouse in our neighborhood and said, "When your husband deploys again, I'm going to wear a button that says I don't get it!"
In many ways, that's the bottom line: those of us who haven't been through it just don't get it. And sometimes that acknowledgement all by itself goes a long way.
NOTE: Don't forget to get your Mother's Day gifts at the big author event tomorrow (SATURDAY, MAY 8th) at the South Jordan Seagull Book from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. I'll be there with some of my best writer buds (Josi S. Kilpack, Sarah M. Eden, and Heather B. Moore) as well as others.