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Proclamation – Military Spouse Appreciation Day

May 5, 2011

Presidential Proclamation–Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Military spouses serve as steady and supportive partners to the heroes in uniform who protect and defend our great Nation every day. Across America and around the world, military spouses serve our country in their own special way, helping families and friends through the stress of a deployment, caring for our wounded warriors, and supporting each other when a loved one has made the ultimate sacrifice.

Our service members and their families seldom ask for support or recognition. They carry out their duties to family and country with the quiet courage and strength that has always exemplified the American spirit. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we have an opportunity to not only honor the husbands and wives of our service members, but also thank them by actively expressing our gratitude in both word and deed.

When a member of our Armed Forces is deployed, an entire family is called to serve. The readiness of our troops depends on the readiness of our military families, as millions of parents, children, and loved ones sacrifice as well. This means supporting our military spouses is also a national security imperative. Earlier this year, my Administration released the report on military families, Strengthening our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment, which marshaled resources from across our Government to identify new opportunities to support these patriots.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are working tirelessly to enlist all sectors of American life to address the unique challenges of military families. Their national initiative, “Joining Forces,” mobilizes Americans to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. Americans can find service projects, send messages of thanks to military families, and learn more about this initiative by visiting: http://www.JoiningForces.gov.

On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, let us join together to show our service members we are taking care of their families back home as they serve our Nation across the globe. As neighbors, teachers, parents, and fellow citizens, we can reach out to military husbands and wives in our communities. We can show our appreciation in countless ways, from offering to help with household maintenance and childcare to encouraging the community involvement and career development of military spouses.

It is through our actions that we show our commitment to our service members and their spouses. By embracing military families, we demonstrate our partnership in the defense of our freedom and the security of the United States.

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 May 6, 2011, as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. I call upon the people of the United States to honor military spouses with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2011 10:12 pm

    And this is the day that I must take my husband back to his boat. Another long depature. Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!!!

  2. May 5, 2011 11:58 pm

    A friend of mine is counting down the days until her husband’s next deployment. He’s been to Iraq and back three times, coming home safely, but never quite the same. None of them are – combat changes everyone. We talked about this recently, her, me, and another military spouse. As the shadows lengthened into night, we talked about what it meant to be a military spouse during the nation’s longest war.
    Some deployments are harder than others, but after the first one, (we’ve all been through more than one), we learn to keep our fears from our husbands. By then we’ve also learned that our families don’t want to know either, and our civilian friends can’t comprehend, or don’t really care. So it’s only on nights like this, with spouses like us, that we can let down our guard.
    Carrie weeps, telling us, “Something feels different about this one. I was worried for all of the others, but there’s something about him going to Afghanistan that scares me to death.” She doesn’t know how she’s going to get through it. All she knows is that she will. She must.
    Not too many nights from now, Carrie will spend her last evening of 2011 with her husband. Everything will have been done – again – all of the packing and paperwork. They will have updated and finalized plans for his funeral: who to invite, what will be said, the music, what she will wear, and what he wants to be buried in, and where.
    They will try to act as if this is normal, and in a way, it is. She will close her eyes and try to sleep for a few fitful hours, before feeling her beloved curl his uniformed arms around her, whispering, “Honey, it’s time.”
    At o-dark-hundred-hours, she will hold herself together as she watches him board a bus or a plane. She will hold herself together on the long drive home. She will hold herself together until she gets a few feet into the house. Then she will drop to her knees and cry. She will allow herself that; and then she will hold herself, and the kids, and her job, and her husband, together for whatever the next year brings.
    How well she is able to hold it together during the deployment directly determines how well the kids do, and greatly influences how well her soldier does, both while he’s gone and when he comes home. Virtually every study on military kids and deployed troops and returning veterans confirms it.
    My friend, Tam, lives it, working a 60-hour week, and taking care of her 70% disabled veteran. He was recently diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury, in addition to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and an array of permanent service-related physical injures that have rendered him incapable of finding a job, performing some basic tasks, and fully participating in their household or their marriage.
    While she waits for the Veteran’s Administration to make good on the mandate to provide support and services for caregivers of disabled veterans, she tries to figure out how to grieve for someone who isn’t dead. She is committed to loving her 33-year-old veteran, and caring for him for the rest of her life, but every day her hearts breaks a little at what they’ve both lost. And the strain of bearing the burden of the war at home is, she says, “Aging me in dog years.”
    Tam didn’t sign up, and neither did Carrie, but they are sacrificing for their country, and fighting battles of their own every day. So today, thank a military spouse, express your gratitude to the wife of a veteran, and then please, ask what you can do to help.

  3. Kitty English permalink
    May 6, 2011 7:02 am

    Stacy, that was a wonderfully written post. Do you have a blog somewhere? I think you should post it then we can forward it. I think it describes deployment and how it goes better than anything else I’ve read.

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