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Military Spouse Appreciation Day Is Today

Today, the Friday before Mothers Day, marks the continued tradition of honoring the other half of the military: the spouses.

With Military Spouse Appreciation Day, the spouses of troops are honored for their sacrifices and contributions to military.

According to an article on Military.com, there were 689,060 soldiers who were listed as married in 2017.

“They are the silent heroes in the whole realm of deployment,” said Susan Rowley, president of the Blue Star Mothers of Lake Erie Chapter 4.

Former President Ronald Reagan first recognized the importance and appreciation of military spouses when he introduced Proclamation 5184 on April 17, 1984, and Military Spouse Appreciation Day was later officially recognized and incorporated into National Military Appreciation Month in 1999. The Department of Defense would later recognize the Friday before Mother’s Day as the official date for honoring military spouses.

Rowley said the day is specifically for “remembering to show appreciation to military spouses and all the sacrifices they make.”

“They are heroes,” she continued.

Rowley emphasized the importance of the military spouse especially when the soldier is deployed in another part of the country or the world. She said the spouse is left with the responsibility of “holding the family together.”

She noted that the spouse, especially if the couple has children, attends to paying bills, doctors appointments, sporting events, musicals and overall care for their children.

“They take care of everything,” she said.

The Blue Star Mothers are made up of mothers of who have or have had children serve in the military. The veterans service organization is well-known for gathering care packages during the holiday season to send over seas for troops. Blue Star Mothers sent 920 packages at Christmas and an additional 113 packages recently.

“We as mothers completely appreciate our children’s spouses while our children are deployed,” she said.

Rowley said the spouses often have to relocate due to deployment or where the family is being stationed. If the family can’t relocate to where the service man or woman is stationed, then the family will occasionally move back to where other close family is located. If not, the spouse has to find a new support system wherever they are currently located until the spouse returns home.

“It’s difficult,” Rowley said of marriage in the military.

In the same article on Military.com referenced above, the statistics showed that 21,290 of the 689,060 military marriages ended in divorce in the 2017 fiscal year. In the 2016 fiscal year there were 22,500 marriages that ended in divorce out of the 707,230 marriages.

“It’s not an easy job,” she added.

Melodie Paladino, secretary for the United Veterans Council of Jamestown, said while many might not realize Chautauqua County is a “big military community.”

“We need (Military Spouse Appreciation Day) around here,” she said.

Paladino said there are 10,000 veterans in the county alone, but noted that the community might not be aware because of the lack of military bases.

“I think (Military Spouse Appreciation Day) is a great day,” she said. “There’s usually a family behind every veteran.”

How does one effectively appreciate a military spouse on Military Spouse Appreciation Day?

Rowley said people should reach out to those spouses today and throughout the year to offer some form of assistance, whether that be babysitting or cooking a meal. Rowley said it’s important to let military spouses feel welcomed and comfortable.

“We need to let them know that they’re not alone,” she said.

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