Story by Greg Mitchell, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
Artwork by students of the Sullivans Elementary School
April was the Month of the Military Child for all branches of service, and the Sullivans Elementary School on board Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka did its part to have students participate.
In 1986, former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger designated “The Month of the Military Child” annually to recognize the contributions that the military child makes as their parent or parents serve the nation. Over the course of the month, each branch of service provides special days and events to honor the family and their children.
“Recognizing the contributions of the military-connected child is so important!” said Susan Davidson, 3rd grade teacher at the Sullivans. “While military connected children have amazing experiences that many people will never have, such as traveling to countries around the world, and being exposed to many cultures, they also make sacrifices.”
Life as a military child can be challenging. Frequent moves and family separations through deployments, and then the reintegration with one another can cause a strain on overall family relationships.
The programs’ purpose is to encourage commands to plan appropriate activities focusing attention on issues concerning servicemembers’ children and the responsibilities the entire community has towards them.
“This program is a good way for children to remind parents to share with them that they are proud of them,” said Davidson. “This celebration can also help children express to their parents how they feel about being a military child and begin conversations about how to maintain a strong bond with family members even when they are apart.”
The Sullivans relied heavily on their Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC) to spearhead the school’s Month of the Military Child recognition activities.
“Providing students the opportunity to participate in the Month of the Military Child activities, such as sharing their experiences through writing, gives them a voice,” said Davidson. “Their voices may express many emotions. From the pride they feel from having a mother or father serve in the military, to excitement about traveling to or living in a new country, to sadness because they miss their mother or father who is deployed. Giving children a voice shows them that they are valued and appreciated by the community, and helps them understand that they are a part of an amazing military community.”
For more information about the Month of the Military Child, go to the website: http://www.monthofthemilitarychild.com/