By Monica Kozlowski, NFRW Armed Services Committee
Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a day set aside to recognize the many sacrifices and contributions made by military spouses. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed Military Spouse Day an official holiday, and Congress later declared it to be part of National Military Appreciation Month in 1999.
As a military spouse and mother, this holiday has a special place in my heart. The importance of this role in my life was abruptly emphasized on September 11, 2001. My husband, then a Judge Advocate in the Army National Guard, was soon mobilized and would spend more than three years overseas supporting Operation Enduring Freedom / Iraqi Freedom.
At the time, I was working for Senator Richard Lugar, raising our three children, taking care of things on the home front, and embracing the military network as family. I was grateful for the opportunity to serve in support of my husband and other service families. Before retiring in 2016, my husband had the honor of swearing our son into service. Today, he is serving as a Green Beret and is currently deployed with Special Forces.
Military spouses play an important role by providing strength and stability to their loved ones, amidst the everyday challenges of life. For most of us, the separation from family is a shared burden, made easier by the almost universal appreciation of friends and strangers alike. Military families feel a special bond, along with a sense of pride and belonging.
According to the Department of Defense, there are over a million military spouses across the active and reserve units. In an effort to support them, the Military Family Readiness System (MFRS) offers services operated by the Department of Defense and other agencies or organizations at the federal, state and local level. The MFRS supports all service members and their families providing resources through Military Family Support Centers, such as career readiness, education and training services, transition assistance, and much more.
Although this holiday is only one day, we can express our appreciation to military spouses throughout the year for their sacrifice, love and protection of our great country.