Military Family Appreciation Month

Family with dad in uniform, laughing and smiling

Military Family Appreciation Month was established in 1993 by the Armed Services YMCA. Since this time, November has been designated a time to honor and recognize the commitment and contributions made by military families in support of our nation and its military services. These families stand by and support Service members despite the risks. They truly know what it means to serve!

Even though these families face a variety of hardships, they are resilient and often develop new coping patterns that make them even stronger. However, these families still need support and recognition for facing challenges, such as the following:

  • Frequent moves
    • On average, military families move every 2 or 3 years. That’s 10 times more often than civilian families!
    • Children typically move 6 to 9 times during their school years.
  • Financial strain
    • Military spouses earn 38% less than civilian counterparts.
  • Underemployment and unemployment of spouses
    • 90% of female military spouses reported being underemployed or overqualified for the positions they hold.
    • 1 in 4 military spouses are unemployed or actively seeking work.
  • Service member injuries
    • According to a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Defense, the number of Service members wounded in action during recent operations ranges from 1 to 31,951.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • About 11 to 20% of Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan operations are diagnosed with PTSD every year.

When you recognize the brave men and women who serve in our country’s military, also remember those who love and support them and who face many unique challenges in their daily lives. While these brave families comprise a diverse community, there are some common trends in family structure. Military spouses tend to be under the age of 35 and female. In fact, only 5% of military spouses are men. Service members are more likely to have young children at home compared to their civilian counterparts. Since 2001, over 2 million children have had a parent deployed.

How can you show your support to military families?

  • Help out! If you know a family with a serving member, offer to babysit their children, mow their lawn, or walk their dog.
  • Thank them for their sacrifices! You can do this online, in person, or in print.
  • Consider donating to organizations that support military families, such as the National Military Family Association.

References

DoSomething.org. (n.d.). 11 facts about military families. Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-military-families

Fischer, H. (2015). A guide to U.S. military casualty statistics: Operation Freedom’s Sentential, Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Retrieved from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22452.pdf

Military.com. (2017). Military family appreciation month. Retrieved from http://www.military.com/military-family-appreciation-month

OCPA & JFHQ-NCR/MDW Public Affairs. (2013). National military family appreciation month. Retrieved from https://www.army.mil/article/114578/National_Military_Family_Appreciation_Month/

Powers, K. (2017). Military family appreciation month. Retrieved from https://ed4online.com/blog/military-family-appreciation-month-0

Ungar, M. (2013). Homeland: How resilient are military families in real life? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nurturing-resilience/201309/homeland-how-resilient-are-military-families-in-real-life

U.S. Department of Defense. (2015). Military family support.  Retrieved from https://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/1115_familysupport/

Vandiver, J. (2014). Study: 90 percent of military spouses underemployed. Retrieved from https://www.stripes.com/news/study-90-percent-of-military-spouses-underemployed-1.267239

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