Recognizing the Contributions of Military Spouses
Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. In reflecting on this holiday, I can’t help but think of my own wife, an incredible example of a military spouse. We met in high school, and married after I graduated from college. She finished college after we got married and earned her Master's Degree from George Washington University in between duty stations. 17 moves, 10 deployments and 2 teenagers later, she's even more wonderful than the day we met.
I'm grateful for my very special military spouse - and best friend - and encourage you to extend your appreciation to the military husbands and wives in your life, whether it’s a neighbor, a co-worker or a mom at your children’s school. Our nation's more than 1,000,000 military spouses are among the most inspirational men and women in this nation. Through more than 10 years of war, they serve bravely on the homefront as their service members deploys abroad. Our military spouses juggle all the challenges that every American family faces - but often with the added pressure of a lovedone deployed in a war zone for extended periods of time. To all of the military wives and husbands, thank you for your service.
Military spouses have given this nation so much. Now it's our turn to give back. We want this country to recognize, honor and support our military families - and not just through words, but through meaningful action. Today, we honor and show our military spouses our appreciation. But our military spouses have earned the support of our nation for all days, not just today.
Here are just a few things that you can do:
- If you're an employer, hire a military spouse - not as an act of charity, but as a brilliant business move. More than 100 private sector companies in America agree that hiring military spouses is good for a company's bottom line - and they've signed on to a partnership with the Department of Defense through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP); visit the MSEP interactive portal today.
- If you're a state legislator, support legislation that gives license portability for the more than 100,000 military spouses who serve in professions like Nurses and Teachers. Military spouses move at a rate 10-times greater than civilians. Every time they move, they have to get a new license in a new state -- a process that can be cumbersome and can take months. The First Lady and Dr. Biden have asked the nation's 50 Governors to pass license portability legislation by 2014.
- If you’re good at helping to care for others, mobilize efforts in your community to support caregiver spouses of our nation's most critically wounded. Go to www.joiningforces.gov to see where opportunities in your area are - or create the opportunity yourself by asking those is need how you can help.
- If you're an educator, connect with the military mom or dad of a child in your class or school.
- If you're a health care provider, take the time to learn about the unique health care needs of military families. Already, the nation's 3 million nurses have committed to learn more about military family-specific health issues.
- And for every citizen, get to know the military spouses in your neighborhood --and extend a hand to help when you can. These spouses may not wear a uniform, but they serve right alongside those who are protecting us - all of us.
In addition to celebrating Military Spouse Appreciation Day today, the First Lady and Dr. Biden are encouraging all Americans to share their gratitude in support of military families celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 13. Learn how you can show your support for military moms by visiting our Joining Forces site dedicated to thanking them and contribute to the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #ThankAMilitaryMom.