Month of the Military Child

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- April is National Keep America Beautiful month. April is also the Month of the Military Child. It could be argued that military children are what make America so beautiful. A military child has a resilient resolve that deployments, new schools, losing old friends and then having to start new relationships are taken in stride. A military child might not fully understand why there will be missed birthdays, holidays, sports and recitals, but they accept it.

Our children will find comfort in that once a day, if you're lucky, but most likely once a week video chat, or text message while you're gone. Military children confide in us through text message, email or video chat about boo-boos, being in trouble, or in my case of having daughters, boys or breakups. A military child is the embodiment of what makes America beautiful; an innocence with life experience, a singular but cultured spirit, eager for adventure, and looks at the unknown through optimistic eyes and with an open mind.

April is the month that we celebrate these resilient beacons of freedom. As an all-volunteer force, not one of us was mandated to serve, the same cannot be said for our children. A military child has accepted your dedication to this beautiful country even if they weren't given a say into which kind of family they were born into; they were born into a military family. The love they have for you was forged in the face of deployments, TDYs, PCSs and every professional and personal challenge that accompanies the Profession of Arms.

Across the Department of Defense, from sea to shining sea, there will be events to recognize, celebrate and pay tribute to military children. It is our dedication to this country that passively celebrates a military child and April is the month where we overtly celebrate the struggles, sacrifices and triumphs of military children. Take a moment this month to listen to the pure happiness in a child’s laugh. Pause at some point in time this month to think about what a military child has had to endure by their service to this great country.

At one point in my career, I hung my ABU top and my backpack up on the rack in our entry way between my daughters' backpacks. My backpack had been to war and witnessed the worst of what humanity has to offer, all the while wearing its mandatory reflector belt. It was flanked on one side by a sparkly backpack covered in peace symbols and on the other by a bright pink one with unmissable glittery hearts. This moment struck me as ironic but it’s a perfect example of what it's all for. I wear this uniform to remember and honor those who have worn it before me. Additionally, I wear this uniform with the distinct purpose of protecting those who cannot, to protect strangers, friends, families and children.

We stand guard to protect those who cannot or will not stand. Most importantly, we wear this uniform so that my military children can enjoy a normal life, full of love and peace, like all children should, in doing so we wear this uniform to celebrate the very things that make America beautiful.